Understanding Your Dental Plan

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Everyone wants whiter, straighter teeth. Nearly 100% of respondents in a survey stated that a good smile is an “important social asset”. But unfortunately, money matters.

Cosmetic dentistry patients spend, on average, between $5,000 and $6,000 on procedures to improve their smiles. While those numbers may seem high all by themselves, it’s also important to note that those are the averages. A basic in-office whitening may only cost a hundred dollars or so, while full-mouth cosmetic dental procedures can easily crack five figures.

The main question most would-be patients ask first is: Do dental plans cover any of that cost? And, unfortunately, there’s no simple answer.

While nearly all dental plans provide coverage for preventative procedures (semi-annual cleanings and exams), cosmetic procedures are a more nebulous subject, and vary wildly depending on the plan you’ve chosen. For instance, some plans offer a “direct reimbursement”, where you pay out of pocket and are then reimbursed a set percentage of the expense, regardless of the category of procedure. Other dental plans only cover certain amounts for certain porcedures, or certain categories of procedures.

Further confusing the issue is the constantly evolving definition of “cosmetic”. Orthodontic procedures (braces and other straightening techniques) used to be considered purely cosmetic, but now are veiwed by most in the dental industry as a crucial component for overall health in individuals with poorly aligned bite patterns.

If you’re unsure about what’s covered and what isn’t, talk to your provider to get the answers you need. Be sure they spell out exactly what procedures are included, what amounts you’re responsible for, and any caps on treatment coverage. And if your plan doesn’t do what you need it to, don’t hesitate to shop around for a new one. The health of your teeth is too important to have to make due with a substandard dental plan. Learn more about this topic here. Check out this site for more.

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