With many employers looking for ways to manage risinghealth-related costs, disease management and wellness programs aregrowing in popularity. Disease management programs, while anaccepted medical practice, are still relatively new in the dentalfield. However, given the growing acceptance of the association oforal health to overall health, the importance of dental benefits toemployees, and the desire among employers to derive more value fromtheir benefit plans, dental disease management is a reasonable nextstep.

What exactly constitutes a comprehensive dental diseasemanagement program? According to MetLife, to deliver the most valueto employers and employees, dental disease management programsshould contain these components, working in conjunction:employee engagement, disease risk and severityscoring, targeted relevant education,analysis/reporting, and continuous looping engagement andreporting over time. It also needs to be easy for employers toimplement and employees to participate to be effective. MetLife'sdisease management solution, the MetLife Dental HealthManagerSM, is offered to group customers with 500 ormore employees at little or no additional cost1.

Dr. David Guarrera, DDS, vice president, MetLife Dental ProductManagement, says, "Effective dental disease management programshave the potential to benefit both employees and employers withhealthier outcomes and cost mitigation. A robust education platformcombined with the systems and processes needed to measure andmonitor the health of employees and their utilization of benefitsover time can help influence healthier behavior."

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