Most of us, at some point in our lives, have looked in the mirror and wished our smile appeared a little brighter. Whether we want whiter teeth or ones that are a bit straighter, we can get discouraged when our pearly whites are not so pearly anymore. Luckily, at Hempfield Family Dental Care, in Lancaster, PA, we have focused on the evolution of cosmetic dentistry for the past 35 years.
While most dental insurance policies will not cover purely cosmetic procedures, they may contribute to the cost if there is a defect or pathology associated with the claim. You can maximize your dental insurance on cosmetic dental claims by scheduling your procedures towards the end of the year and breaking it into multiple visits over two different plan years.
Here is more about what you should know when planning to apply dental insurance benefits to your cosmetic dental procedures.
Restorative and Cosmetic Procedures
Most insurance companies do not classify teeth whitening as medically necessary, but other procedures like bonding or crowns can sometimes be considered restorative and cosmetic.
Generally, dental insurance will cover cosmetic dentistry procedures if they are necessary due to decay, disease, accident, or injury. An example will be if you are missing a tooth due to an auto accident. In this case, a tooth implant would be considered restorative (medically necessary) and cosmetic (improved appearance).
Cosmetic Only Procedures
If the cosmetic dentistry that you would like to have
done is purely to enhance your smile, it can sometimes be hard to get insurance
to cover the procedure. Many dental insurance companies that do cover cosmetic
procedures have higher premiums and deductibles and can have a 12-month waiting
period before you can even start your claims.
How to Maximize Your Insurance for Cosmetic Dentistry in Lancaster, PA
There are several tips to maximize your insurance for cosmetic dentistry. Most dental insurance will follow the 100-80-50 rule. That is, they will pay 100% for preventative procedures, 80% for necessary procedures, and 50% for major procedures. Therefore, if you can ensure some medical benefit to the cosmetic procedures, like getting a crown to replace a decayed tooth, you may get some insurance coverage for the procedures.
Another tip to keep in mind is that most dental plans will have a yearly maximum, typically between $1,000 and $2,000, and it resets in January. If you have met your deductible but not your annual maximum, you will pay lower costs.
If you are getting close to hitting your full amount for the year, split the expenses between years. For example, if you have several crooked teeth, consider a bonding procedure to make them look straighter and repair chipped teeth. Have a few teeth done at the end of this year to hit your yearly maximum, and then return in January to finish the other teeth when your yearly maximum resets. Splitting the cost over multiple visits can help save you money. Whenever possible, try to crown pairs of teeth in the anterior so that the colors match, just like selecting color lots for home décor.
Improve Your Self Confidence over the Holidays
Cosmetic dentistry is a great way to improve your self-esteem over the holidays when you see family and friends you have not seen in a while. Some cosmetic dental procedures that can enhance your appearance are:
- Teeth Whitening – Reduce stains and discoloration of your teeth using in-office bleaching to make your teeth whiter and brighter
- Bonding – A composite resin repairs broken or chipped teeth or builds up the ends of crooked teeth to help your smile look straighter and more complete.
- Onlays, Inlays and Crowns – These cosmetic procedures repair structurally damaged teeth with ceramics that are stronger than composites.
- Veneers – Thin shells bonded to the front surface of teeth to make them look better but are routinely not covered by insurance.
- Tooth Implants – A surgically placed artificial root with a crown to replace a missing tooth.
- Partial Dentures – In cases where multiple teeth are missing, a functional, esthetic prosthesis can provide an economical to replace the teeth that were lost.
Schedule a Cosmetic Dentistry Appointment Today
One of the best ways to maximize your dental insurance on cosmetic claims is by using a trusted dental team, like Hempfield Family Dental Care, for all of your preventative and cosmetic procedures. Please schedule an appointment today to begin planning to use your dental benefits before losing them at the end of the year. For those procedures that are covered, we accept most major insurance carriers. We also offer interest-free financing through Care Credit. Contact us today to get started on your brighter, whiter smile.