Medical insurance typically covers the cost of necessary medical treatment; most cosmetic procedures will need to be paid for out-of-pocket by the patient. But when it comes to dental implants, many people wonder whether these are classed as necessary or cosmetic. After all, surely not having a full set of teeth is a medical issue?
Cosmetic or Medical?
Although missing teeth could potentially become a medical issue in the long term, most insurance policies class dental implants as a cosmetic procedure and so will not cover them. This is despite the fact that when teeth are missing the body will take the minerals that were once used to support the teeth in the jawbone and use them elsewhere. Over time, the jawbone begins to shrink, to the point where it becomes difficult to hold dentures in place. If this process continues, the individual could suffer facial collapse, where dentures will simply not stay in the mouth and the person will find it difficult to eat.
With dental implants, this does not happen because the brain believes there are still teeth in the jawbone and so does not take the necessary minerals needed. With this in mind, you would be forgiven for assuming that dental implants are a necessary medical treatment for someone who has lost teeth. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and as mentioned above this type of dental work is typically classed as a cosmetic procedure and therefore not covered.
Are Dental Implants Ever Covered by Insurance?
In terms of a standard medical insurance policy, it is unlikely that dental implants will be covered. However, the experts at Find-A-Code.com say that having the right dental insurance plan may mean this procedure will be covered. If you think that dental implants might be something you need now or will need in the future, you should look for a dental insurance plan that covers the treatment.
How to Pay for Dental Implants Without Insurance
If your policy does not cover dental implants, you can still have the work done but you will need to cover the cost yourself. This is an expensive treatment as there is a lot of work involved. Nevertheless, all is not lost as many dentists will offer pay-as-you-go plans, whereby you would pay for the treatment as you have it done. As there are multiple stages involved, this may work out well for you.
You may also be able to avail of financing through your dentist, many of whom work with third-party companies that facilitate this. This might allow you to pay for your treatment through a low-interest monthly payment plan.
Even if your insurance policy does not cover the cost of the actual dental implant surgery, there may be other aspects of the treatment that are covered, so it is important to be aware of what you can and cannot claim for. For example, any preliminary work that might be required, such as the extraction of a tooth or teeth, may be covered.
Making a Claim
It is a good idea to find out what is covered by your insurance policy. As pointed out above, there may be certain parts of your treatment that are covered and if so, you can claim for these. You will need to know the medical coding required on the form for each aspect of your treatment.
Something worth remembering too is that even if dental implants are covered on your insurance policy, there may be a limit as to how much is covered. Check this before proceeding as you will be expected to cover any additional costs.