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Not all dental insurance plans with insurance companies give you the care you need. Bento aims to provide the transparency dental care needs.

This Smartphone App Aims to Put Transparency in Dental Care

Not all dental insurance plans with insurance companies give you the care you need. Bento aims to provide the transparency dental care needs.

When it comes to dental care, our first instinct is to convince ourselves we don’t really need it. It’s easy to persuade ourselves that the trip to the dentist is an extra expense. Why bother getting your teeth cleaned, after all, when you’ve got a solid oral hygiene routine? But we do need professional dental care. It’s just notoriously expensive to get, even with dental benefits. It’s no surprise, then, that there’s been more of a call for transparency in dental care.

And it might just be having its moment. Recently, a Boston-based startup company has made waves for “bringing transparency to dental care,” as one Forbes article put it. Bento—founded by Ram Sudireddy and Saty Mahajan—is a smartphone app that aims to look for the best deals on your dental care. What it does is show the prices of nearby options based on their services, allowing consumers to choose the most feasible option for them.

But how does Bento bring transparency to dental care? And why is it important?

An alternative for people without dental insurance

Getting dental insurance is supposed to lessen your dental expenses. And looking at how much you typically spend on an insurance plan, it should be the case. Unfortunately, the ideal doesn’t always translate to what actually happens.

It’s this problem that pushed Sudireddy to establish Bento in the first place. According to the Forbes article, it was a pricey wisdom tooth extraction that drove him to create an alternative of their own. Having spent $2,000.00 a year on dental premiums, it came as a shock to Sudireddy when the dentist asked for $3,000.00 upfront. And his plan covered less than what he paid for.

And this problem only covers those who have insurance in the first place. For most Americans, there’s an almost elusive quality to the typical dental insurance plan because of how expensive it can be. But the cost of getting your teeth done is no small thing either. It’s no wonder, then, why most people would forego getting a dental appointment, even if they need it.

By providing an avenue for these people to get transparent prices for dental care, it opens the door for them to choose services specific to their budget. More than this, Bento also aims to provide lower prices for otherwise pricey services. 

A wake-up call for dental insurance companies

But does this mean we should chuck away our insurance plans altogether? Not really. With the right insurance company, having a dental care plan can do wonders for your expenses. Some companies also offer group plans that provide discounted fees when you enroll as a group. Others still provide flexible financing plans that let you pay when you can instead of a rigid payment schedule.

Regardless, this innovation shines a spotlight on a blind spot dental insurance plans might have. Dentists, in particular, bear the brunt of these misgivings, particularly when it comes to pre-approving dental procedures. By eliminating the things that make it harder to get and provide dental care, you not only help potential patients get the treatment they need. You also help your dentists offer the care they aim to give.  

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