By Susan Braden
In today’s society, it is often communicated that appearance is everything. Advertisers spend millions trying to convince people that they need to have the perfect muscles, perfect hair style, the perfect car or home, and even the perfect smile. Shows like Extreme Makeover tell viewers that if your teeth do not appear ideal, porcelain veneers or teeth whitening will make your smile sparkle in no time. While many assume that insurance will help cover the cost of these procedures, due to their cosmetic nature, little coverage is available.
So are any of these procedures covered by dental insurance?
A veneer is a thin wafer shell that is bonded to the front of a tooth. Due to the cosmetic nature of this procedure, veneers are not covered by insurances when they are initially put on. They may, however, be covered by a dental discount plan.
Whitening allows for stains or discoloration to be removed, making each tooth whiter. This is always considered cosmetic and not covered by insurances.
A dentist can correct a space between your teeth by bonding a composite to the teeth to close the gap. Your first bonding is rarely covered by insurances.
For most insurances, there is a clause that requires the company to reimburse for the replacement of defective dental work. There are typically no restrictions with the type of work that will be reimbursed either. If the decline of your veneer(s) has been documented, your replacement will be likely approved.
Braces are typically covered by most insurances. There are times that orthodontia is an optional coverage that you need to sign up for.
While these procedures are delightful to the eyes and enticing for people that would like to improve the quality of their smile, it needs to be understood that dental insurance will likely not be a tremendous asset to reduce the cost of cosmetic procedures. It is sometimes possible to finance major cosmetic work, such as porcelain veneers, but patients need to be aware of the limited coverage that exists for this dentistry prior to beginning any such treatment.