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Find Cosmetic Dental Insurance and Other Financing Alternatives

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dental insurance for cosmetic dentistry
Looking for cosmetic dental insurance with no waiting period?

Are you looking for cosmetic dental insurance with no waiting period?

We are aware of how difficult it may be to choose the best dental insurance policy. Finding a dental insurance plan that really covers aesthetic dentistry can be much harder.

Fortunately, we've done some of the work for you by compiling this cosmetic dental insurance guide. This article covers the following:

  • What is cosmetic dental insurance?
  • What distinguishes restorative procedures from cosmetic ones?
  • How to find a dental insurance plan that covers cosmetic procedures
  • How to save money on cosmetic dentistry if your dental plan doesn’t cover it

We hope this guide will help in reducing the expense of your aesthetic treatments, and decide whether getting dental insurance that covers cosmetic dentistry is worthwhile.

Does dental insurance cover cosmetic dentistry?

While restorative dentistry is a medical need, dental insurance carriers see cosmetic dentistry as an optional service, since it doesn't actually improve the function of your teeth or your mouth.

dental insurance covers cosmetic dentistry
Dental treatments are usually only covered by
insurance if they are medically required

Because of this, dental insurance treats medically important dental treatments differently from procedures for aesthetic dentistry. Insurance often won't cover cosmetic procedures, but it will typically pay for part or all of your restorative procedures.

However, many dentists use restorative treatments, such as veneers, porcelain crowns, and dental implants for restorative and cosmetic purposes.

So, what distinguishes restorative treatments from cosmetic dentistry?

A treatment is regarded as restorative by dental insurance if it is:

  • Medically necessary due to illness or decay
  • Medically required as a result of an accident or injury
  • Used for reasons other than aesthetics, such as to replace missing teeth or change a patient's bite or oral mechanics

An operation is considered cosmetic or elective if:

  • The only purpose of the operation is to improve the attractiveness of the patient's smile
  • The tooth or tissue underneath is not harmed, compromised, or decaying
  • No medical justification exists for changing the teeth or carrying out the surgery

Dental insurance and cosmetic treatments

Most of the time, cosmetic dentistry work that is not medically necessary is not covered by dental insurance.

But the distinction between just aesthetic dentistry and dentistry that is medically required might be hazy in certain circumstances. For instance, a patient would need dental treatment if they were in an accident.

In this case, even though the outcome has both cosmetic and restorative benefits, the treatment is considered a restorative dental treatment since the patient had a medical necessity for tooth replacement or repair.

Dental insurance might cover cosmetic dentistry if it is determined to be medically necessary. Consequently, each circumstance must be considered separately when it comes to dental insurance with cosmetic coverage.

In the video below, Dr. Patel gives a simple explanation as to why sometimes cosmetic procedures may be covered by insurance:

If you need help finding dental insurance that covers restorative treatment that may include cosmetic work as well, you can find a plan with the user-friendly online marketplace dentalinsurance.com.

What dental procedures count as cosmetic?

cosmetic dental insurance no waiting period
Veneers and whitening are typically not covered by insurance
  • Teeth whitening: One of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures is teeth whitening. While most dental insurance plans don’t cover teeth whitening, there are certain plans available that cover it partially and with a strict limitation.
  • Veneers: Dental veneers are thin, customized shells that go over your teeth to make them look better. Veneer application, as opposed to teeth whitening, is an invasive technique that permanently transforms your natural teeth. There are several types of veneers, such as composite veneers, porcelain veneers, and lumineers.
  • Invisible braces: Removable, or invisible braces are a popular alternative to traditional braces, especially for adults. Some well-known brands are Invisalign, Byte, Smileie, and NewSmile. Dental and orthodontic insurance may cover Invisalign, as it is an in-office procedure, but it is less likely to cover remote braces treatment. You can read more about how to pay for adult braces here.

Things to know about dental insurance

If your dental insurance plan does allow some coverage for cosmetic dentistry, here are some details to help you understand better how it works:

  • Annual maximum limits: Dental insurance policies usually include an annual or lifetime maximum which is the maximum amount the insurance will pay for a certain treatment.
  • Age restrictions: If your dental insurance plan covers braces, the coverage typically comes with an age restriction. It’s not always the case, though. You can read more about dental insurance for braces to find out more.
  • Copay: This is the certain amount you are required to pay for an authorized procedure.
  • Deductible: The amount that must be paid out-of-pocket before insurance will cover the cost. For example, if your deductible is $200, and your treatment only costs $150, then you'll pay the entire $150 on your own.
  • Out-of-Network vs. In-Network: Dental professionals often form arrangements with insurance companies to provide “in-network” coverage. When your dentist is an in-network provider with your insurance company, coverage rates are typically higher and your dentist will handle the insurance paperwork for you. You may have to contact your insurance provider directly for a refund if you decide to see an out-of-network dentist.

Finding cosmetic dental insurance with no waiting period

  • Delta Dental: Many Delta Dental insurance plans cover cosmetic treatments such as braces. Some insurance policies also partially cover teeth whitening. Other cosmetic treatments are typically not covered.
  • Humana: The higher premium plans from Humana offer extensive coverage even for dentures and crowns. Cosmetic treatments such as veneers and teeth whitening are usually not covered.

To find a dental insurance plan that offers coverage for braces, crowns or dentures, you can go to dentalinsurance.com.

Alternative ways to pay for cosmetic treatments

There are some dental insurance plans that cover cosmetic dentistry to some extent. Moreover, there may a thin line between an essential restorative treatment and a cosmetic treatment. So, it’s always recommended to check individually whether your case is covered or not.

However, the expense of getting veneers, teeth whitening, or any other strictly cosmetic procedure on its own is probably not something that insurance will pay for. So you may want to see if you can get a cosmetic dentistry grant, or a free dental makeover.

Otherwise, you can check out other financing options that can help:

4 Ways to finance your dental care

Dental insurance

Pay a monthly premium in exchange for more affordable care.

Dental loans

Fund your dental work now and make affordable monthly repayments.

Dental tourism

Pay less for quality treatment abroad.

Dental discount plans

Save money on treatment costs in exchange for a yearly membership fee.

Of the options mentioned above, dental discount plans (AKA dental savings plans) are probably the most similar to dental insurance, except that they provide discounts for any treatment, including cosmetic treatment.

With discount plans, there are also no waiting periods, deductibles, or maximums. In fact, many people find discount plans to be more helpful than dental insurance plans. You can read our full guide here to find out more.

Conclusion

In the US, cosmetic dentistry can be expensive, and dental insurance frequently does not cover treatment. However, you should confirm if your procedure is medically necessary and, as a result, might be covered by dental insurance.

If your treatment won't be covered by insurance, then there are other options you can consider, like trying to find a grant, taking out a dental loan, going abroad for your treatment, or signing up for a discount plan.

FAQs

What dental procedures are considered cosmetic?

Cosmetic dental procedures are those that are meant to improve the appearance of your smile. These include tooth whitening, veneers, and sometimes braces and crowns.

Can you insure your veneers?

Veneers are typically not covered by insurance, because they are usually considered a type of cosmetic dentistry. In some cases, if they are part of a restorative treatment, they may be covered.

Why is dental care considered cosmetic?

Some dental care, such as tooth whitening and veneers, which are meant to improve the appearance of your smile, is considered to be cosmetic because it doesn't improve the function of your mouth.

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Simon specializes in writing content on healthcare and dentistry.