A health and dental insurer is providing extra dental coverage for members with serious health problems.

CIGNA Dental, Plantation, Fla., a unit of CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, says it now will pay 100% of the cost of periodontal scaling, root planing and periodontal maintenance for patients in its disease management programs for diabetes or heart disease who have CIGNA dental coverage as well as CIGNA medical coverage.

CIGNA Dental, which already provides similar benefits for pregnant CIGNA health plan members, is providing the extra benefits because of studies that show that thorough gum care may improve patients’ overall health and cut claims costs for some patients, the company says.