People looking for a job today are more discerning about choosing an employer, examining not only pay and location but also the benefit packages offered. When Superior Dental Care was founded in the Dayton area in 1986, job seekers may not have been doing the same level of research they are now but the dentists who formed Superior Dental knew that the quality of dental care provided by companies could be improved.


After 35 years, those dentists look awfully prescient. Competitive and comprehensive benefit packages not only attract more job seekers but help companies retain their employees. Health insurance was long the primary focus of benefits at companies, explains Shannon Ford, Superior Dental Care’s director of sales and service, but dental care is quickly becoming a must-have for both employers and employees.


“It used to be a hard sell just to convince an employer group to offer it,” Ford says, “and now it seems like this has caught on [and it’s] rarer to find a group that doesn’t offer dental.”


Because offering dental plans alongside health insurance has become de rigueur, Superior Dental Care works with employers and benefit brokers to create customized packages after examining the number of eligible employees compared to those already enrolled in an existing benefits plan. Then, a boutique plan is created to entice greater enrollment, whether that entails creating a cheaper, and thus more accessible, coverage option or one with a wider array of covered procedures while making sure the company is getting everything out of the benefits package that it is paying for.


Customization has been one of Superior Dental Care’s hallmarks for some time, especially as it has grown into one of the largest dental networks in the country. Ford mentions that Superior Dental offers over 1,000 plans to its clients, with each tailored to maximize employee usage and eliminate wasted employer spend.


“Truly, the idea is you want to get this employer group to have a plan that the employees are going to enroll in and take advantage of and utilize the preventive on,” she says. “So, we’re always trying to look at what an employer group has currently and see how we can maybe fine-tune that.”


The bottom line, of course, is that employees use the care options available to them. It may come as a surprise, but dental checkups can reveal other potential health issues. Dentists are trained to spot warning signs of diabetes, heart and kidney issues and various types of cancer. Ford notes that there are over 50 diseases that can be diagnosed during a routine dental examination.


So, seeing the dentist regularly isn’t just about maintaining a great smile; it can result in starting treatment sooner on larger health problems. And getting a head start on addressing bigger dental or health issues reduces the cost of later treatment.


“We have found that if an employee does utilize their preventative [care],” Ford adds, “for every dollar the plan may spend on preventative services, it will save them 50 [dollars] on those major services.”


While dental care is certainly Superior Dental Care’s forte, the company has been creating new plans for other wellness benefits. February marked the beginning of expanded enrollment options for its Superior Wellness Bundle, which includes vision as a result of a partnership with the appropriately named Superior Vision (a distinct company based in Maryland). This new package means employees don’t have to enroll in dental coverage to receive vision benefits; now they can choose one, the other or both based on their needs.


In addition, Superior Dental Care was acquired by Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio in September of 2018. Superior Dental Care’s robust network of providers attracted Medical Mutual, which was looking to offer the strongest dental coverage in addition to its health care options. For Superior Dental Care, it will allow the ability in the near future to offer the most comprehensive benefits packages it can to employers, combining medical, dental and vision.


“We feel like the partnership between the two companies—Medical Mutual and Superior Dental—is very cohesive,” Ford says, adding that both have operated with similar values over their individual histories. The acquisition expands the abilities of the two companies at no detriment to current clients of either.


Superior Dental is also honing end user accessibility through improved ways for employees to utilize their benefits. The company was one of the first dental benefit providers to offer a mobile phone app for checking coverage and claim status, finding dentists and accessing any information pertinent to dental plans. Superior Dental Care also offers a live chat option on its website for an easy way to get coverage questions quickly answered.


Making benefit usage easier through technology is key as the number of millennials in the workforce continues to rise. Amenities like the mobile app, live chat and the Superior Direct Connect online portal go a long way towards ensuring younger employees are knowledgeable about the benefits being provided by their employer and will subsequently use them.


All in all, Superior Dental Care’s network and service continue to provide employer groups of any size a compelling reason to utilize it for employee benefits packages. All the elements, from tailored packages to incentivizing usage of plans, come from an increased awareness of the need to maintain good health and healthy living. As employers work to meet these needs from their employees, so too does Superior Dental Care strive to help employer groups offer the best benefits.


“The wellness trend is just going to continue to grow, we think,” Ford says, “and we’re just trying to do what we can to accommodate that and stay ahead of it.”