When it comes to replacing missing teeth, dental implants offer an effective solution, but the procedure can be costly. Before moving forward with the treatment, you'll probably want to check if you have medical or dental insurance that covers implants. The answer to this question is unlikely to be straightforward, but don't let that put you off. Your insurance provider and your oral surgeon can help you explore the financial options for covering the cost.
What Does Your Insurance Cover?
Dental implants are an investment in your oral health and self-confidence, but you should have a good understanding of what's involved in your individual treatment plan and what you can expect to pay out-of-pocket before agreeing to the procedure.
Only your own insurance provider can give a definitive answer on what aspects of your dental implant treatment are covered by your plan; however, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) explains that both medical and dental insurance could potentially pay for some parts of your dental implant procedure, depending on your plans and the nature of your tooth loss.
For example, if your tooth loss has caused medical complications, your medical insurance might cover some aspects of the implant treatment. If you have dental insurance, you may find it covers the crowns that replace natural teeth in implants. And if you require implants due to an accident, an insurance plan that pays for injuries may include dental implants in its coverage.
Speak with your oral surgeon about the extent of the procedure. In addition to the standard implant treatment — which includes inserting metal posts into your jawbone, allowing them to integrate with the bone and then placing a crown on top of the post — you may require additional steps. Before the surgeon can insert the implant posts, you may need to have teeth extracted or a bone graft placed in your jawbone, as the AAOMS explains. You may also require anesthesia during surgery. All these factors can add to the final cost, and insurance may or may not cover each component of your treatment.
Talk With Your Insurance Provider and Oral Surgeon
Ask your oral surgeon for the details of your personal treatment plan, and then contact both your dental and medical insurance providers to find out what aspects they cover. Don't forget to check the maximum annual limit on your insurance, too, as your total implant fee may be higher. If that is the case, you may be able to split your treatment between December and January to ensure that you don't go over the limit and only have to make minimal out-of-pocket payments.
If you find that your insurance doesn't cover implants at all and only covers cheaper treatments, all hope is not lost. The American Academy of Implant Dentistry suggests that patients ask their insurance company to provide an allowance that matches the cost of traditional dentures or a dental bridge.
If you don't have any insurance, now might be the perfect time to find a plan that fits your budget. HealthCare.gov can be a great place to start your search for affordable insurance options. You can also speak to your oral surgeon about alternative financing, such as a payment plan option to divide the cost into installments, or your surgeon could put you in touch with organizations that offer financing for oral care.
Living with decayed or missing teeth takes its toll on your physical and mental well-being, but you don't have to live that way forever. Dental implants can give you back your natural smile. Your oral surgeon is experienced in dealing with patients' worries and queries on how they can afford their treatment, so don't hesitate to ask. Whether or not you have dental insurance that covers implants, together with your oral surgeon, you can find a way to afford this investment in your future.