Making Dental Care Affordable

By Anna DuPont
Wednesday - December 10, 2008
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By Anna DuPont
Administrator, Ho’ala Dental Program

The problem with dental work, besides the fear and anxiety some people may have, is paying for it. Dental insurance is fine if your teeth are in good health. But what happens when you need some major work done, or when the kids need braces? Dental insurance can be a real disappointment.

With dental insurance, there are often waiting periods - a time period when you have to wait before dental insurance will cover a particular procedure. Insurance companies frequently limit the number of times you can receive a procedure within a given time period. If you’re in pain now, or your crown keeps falling off, you need to get to the dentist right away whether or not insurance will cover the procedure. No coverage means you must pay full price, which is usually more than the “insurance price.” Also, even if you have coverage and you get a root canal, crown or bridge, you may easily exceed your annual maximum benefits, which may be as little as $500. What to do? Wait until next year?


I didn’t visit a dentist until I started working for Hawaii Family Dental Centers eight years ago. Now, as the administrator for the Ho’ala Dental Program, I understand the need for alternative dental coverage and how it can help Hawaii’s people from all walks of life to have access to affordable quality dental care. Ho’ala, meaning “to awaken someone, a new beginning,” may be just what you are looking for as a way of countering the shortcomings of dental insurance. There are options for students, individuals, groups and people with no dental insurance at all. Plus, Ho’ala covers dental services like cosmetic teeth-whitening, composite fillings and braces for the kids! There are no waiting periods, no deductibles and no annual maximums, so you can get that dental work done now.

Hawaii Family Dental Centers team (from left) Jackie Hanazawa, Anna Dupont, Lorraine Hulihee, Tim Mobley, Jenny Ordonio, Shani Yamada and Irene Sadoyama

Skeptics might ask, “Isn’t this too good to be true?” Well, Ho’ala is simply a membership program and works like those national warehouse discount clubs. In exchange for an annual membership fee, Ho’ala members are able to receive dental services at greatly discounted prices. With no insurance companies to pay, savings can be passed on to the patients. Plus, anyone who has experienced the frustration of a waiting period or exceeding their annual maximum will appreciate getting their care when they need it and not when the insurance company wants to pay for it.

The Ho’ala Dental Program is pleased to offer the Hawaii Family Dental Centers network for all dental services. Hawaii Family Dental Centers is Hawaii’s premier dental group and was established in 1986 to serve Hawaii’s families. Hawaii Family Dental Centers has 10 offices on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, and serves tens of thousands of islanders every year. Hawaii Family Dental Centers offers the full range of specialty services from general dentistry to oral surgery and orthodontics.

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