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Brightening Your Smile: Does Insurance Cover Cosmetic Dentistry?

A bright beautiful smile might be exactly what you need to live a more confident life. And with confidence, you can achieve just about anything!

But wait a minute – isn’t cosmetic dentistry expensive? Will your insurance cover all or part of the cost for certain types of cosmetic dentistry?

Navigating your dental insurance coverage shouldn’t be complicated and confusing. And you should know what to expect when it comes to paying for cosmetic dentistry procedures. Read the article below to find out everything you need to know about insurance and cosmetic dentistry.

What Is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Wondering whether the dental procedure you’re interested in is classified as cosmetic dentistry? Well, cosmetic dentistry includes all dental procedures and treatments that are not considered medically necessary. Cosmetic dentistry services include:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Veneers
  • Gum contouring
  • Tooth shaping
  • Dental implants
  • Composite bonding
  • Dental bridge

Procedures like these are deemed cosmetic because they may improve the aesthetic of your teeth, gums, and smile but they aren’t necessary for your health. When talking about cosmetic dentistry you might also hear the terms “elective” and “restorative”.

Elective

Elective dental procedures are a choice. Teeth whitening and veneers are elective, cosmetic dentistry procedures. There is no health benefit to the services but a person could choose to have them anyway. Usually, the purpose of elective procedures is to improve the appearance of one’s teeth and/or mouth.

Restorative

Restorative dental treatments are not usually considered cosmetic dentistry. However, certain restorative procedures, like fillings and crowns can be completed in a way to look more natural. Restorative procedures are usually necessary for your oral health. And you can choose specific materials like composite fillings for a better overall look.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Covered by Insurance?

The big question – is cosmetic dentistry covered by insurance? And the answer – it depends. Many elective cosmetic dental procedures are not covered by insurance. The insurance company may not consider it to be medically necessary therefore they won’t help you pay for it.

Most restorative procedures are covered by dental insurance. Fillings and crows are necessary to keep the tooth from rotting and causing pain or other dental hygiene problems. Because there is a medical reason for the procedures, dental insurance will help cover the cost.

If you have a choice between different materials for your filling you can choose the one that you think looks better. And while this is sort of like a cosmetic dentistry decision, it’s still covered under insurance.

Sometimes insurance companies will pay up to 50% of the cost of cosmetic dentistry if you can show that there is also a medical benefit. For example, some cosmetic procedures also protect the health of your teeth and gums.

If you have questions about a procedure, talk to a reputable cosmetic dentist to learn about the potential costs. They can walk you through which procedures likely will or will not be covered by insurance.

Partial Coverage for Cosmetic Procedures

What if you have to get your teeth whitened in order to replace a crown? Your teeth need to match the color of the porcelain so that the crown looks like a natural part of your tooth. But is this considered elective or restorative? Or both?

The whitening procedure is still cosmetic and the crown is restorative. Therefore your insurance may not cover the whitening but they will cover part or all of the cost of the crown.

Cosmetic Dental Insurance

Did you know that there is also dental insurance specifically for cosmetic dental procedures? Purchasing cosmetic dental insurance will help cover the cosmetic dentistry cost that a normal dental insurance plan won’t cover.

You may also want to talk to your current dental insurance provider to see if they offer supplementary cosmetic dental insurance. If not, consider purchasing a plan for year-round coverage for cosmetic needs. Don’t pay out of pocket when you could save 20% or more on cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic Dentistry Cost

If you are going to pay for cosmetic dentistry out-of-pocket (without help from insurance) what can you expect to pay for common procedures? Here’s a quick guide to cosmetic dentistry cost.

Professional teeth whitening may cost between $550 and $1,200 if you plan to pay entirely out-of-pocket. However, if you take good care of your teeth, professional teeth whitening can last several years before you’ll need to whiten them again.

The cost for porcelain veneers is about $800 to $2,500 per tooth. The total cost depends on how much work is required, how many appointments you need, and how many teeth you need veneers for. Most people choose about 6 to 8 teeth for veneers because they are the most noticeable teeth when you smile.

Dental implants may cost between $1,100 to $4,000 per tooth. Dental implants are sometimes covered by insurance if it’s medically necessary and not elective. A dental bridge may cost $500 to $1,200 per tooth.

Clear orthodontic aligners, like Invisalign, are sometimes considered cosmetic dentistry but in reality, aligners are functional too. Aligners can improve a person’s ability to chew comfortably and can correct an overbite. They can also reduce teeth crowding.

Dental insurance will usually cover part of the cost of clear aligners like they would cover braces. If you are a good candidate for clear aligners, explore this option with a dentist.

Giving You a Reason to Smile

Some forms of cosmetic dentistry are covered by dental insurance. If you are interested in a cosmetic dentistry procedure, talk to a cosmetic dentist about payment options. Even if your insurance doesn’t cover the cost you may be able to set up a payment plan.

Don’t let the cost of cosmetic dentistry get in the way of pursuing your healthiest, happiest smile. You deserve to feel confident when you smile. Seek a consultation today and give yourself another reason to smile!

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