A simple smile can be pivotal in making a good first impression. Smiles don’t just make us look good: they allow us to connect with others, build trust, and facilitate positive interaction. Smiling is even more beneficial—one study even found that smiling enhanced learning ability by activating the brain's reward neurons.
If you're unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, however, you may be reluctant to smile at all. This reluctance is where cosmetic dentistry can help. Improving the shape and appearance of your teeth or gums can boost confidence and self-esteem.
Does Insurance Cover Cosmetic Dentistry?
While you can't put a price on confidence, the cost of cosmetic dentistry is still a consideration. Some dental insurance policies may cover a portion of cosmetic dentistry procedures, particularly those deemed medically necessary. However, most aesthetic services, like teeth whitening or veneers, are not typically covered by standard dental plans.
What Is Considered Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry refers to aesthetic procedures primarily performed to improve the appearance of a person's teeth, gums, or bite, rather than to address any medically necessary, functional, or health-related issues.
Ultimately, cosmetic dentistry enhances the aesthetics of a person's smile and may involve various treatments or procedures, including:
- Teeth whitening: Also known as teeth bleaching, this procedure helps to remove stains and discoloration from teeth, resulting in brighter, healthier-looking teeth.
- Porcelain veneers: Veneers are clear, custom-made shells that bond only to the surface of teeth, improving the appearance when talking or smiling.
- Dental bonding: Involves applying a tooth-colored resin material to teeth and shaping it to improve the appearance of chipped, stained, or misaligned teeth.
- Dental crowns: Also known as dental caps, these are custom-made restorations that cover the entire tooth to improve its appearance, shape, or size.
- Orthodontic treatments: This includes braces or clear aligners used to correct misaligned teeth, bite issues, and other orthodontic problems for cosmetic reasons.
- Dental implants: Used to replace missing teeth with artificial tooth roots and crowns, improving the smile's appearance and facial structure.
- Gum Recontouring: Reshaping the gum line to create a more symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing smile.
- Smile makeovers: Comprehensive treatment plans that combine multiple cosmetic dentistry procedures to enhance the overall appearance of a person's smile.
It's important to note that while cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of the teeth and smile, it can also have functional benefits, such as improving oral hygiene, bite alignment, and overall dental health.
When Insurance Does Cover Cosmetic Dentistry
There usually has to be existing trauma to the tooth barring the procedure medically necessary for a dental plan to pitch in. If you were in a car accident, for example, and your teeth were affected so that your ability to eat or talk has been negatively impacted, for example, your dental plan would likely cover at least a portion of the procedure.
Otherwise, treatments like teeth whitening, veneers, and gum contouring are considered aesthetic and typically not covered by a dental plan. Some companies, like Cigna or CarePlus, have yearly plans that offer 15-50% discounts on cosmetic treatments.
Investing In Your Smile
Whether you can use insurance or you'd have to pay out of pocket, cosmetic dentistry is an investment in yourself. The confidence and improved quality of life gained from cosmetic dentistry treatments are invaluable to one's future. Still, considering the expenses before electing a procedure will ensure the highest satisfaction with your cosmetic experience.
If you're interested in cosmetic dentistry, contact our office today. Our experts can recommend the best treatment plan that meets your financial needs.