Published: 7/17/2022

Dental insurance typically pays for a portion of the cost of common treatments, such as fillings or crowns, as well as more complex oral surgeries. However, the policyholder is expected to contribute to the cost of their care. Preventative care, such as X-rays, cleanings and checkups, is usually covered in full. Individual insurance companies can set their own policies regarding what type of treatments they cover. The best dental insurance policies may include coverage for dentures, implants, crowns and other complex treatments.

Standard Health Insurance Policies Rarely Help With Dental Care

Standard health insurance policies don’t usually cover the cost of preventative dental care or cosmetic work. However, some Medicare Advantage plans cover dental care. Individual states can set their own policies when it comes to health coverage, and some states include emergency dental procedures under both Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare. Procedures are more likely to be covered if they’re classed as an emergency or if they’re complex and are handled in a hospital rather than at a dental office.

Low-income individuals may receive some help with emergency dental care through Medicaid. Regular preventative care helps keep a person’s teeth and gums healthy and can reduce the risk of a senior requiring emergency dental work. In the long-term, this can save seniors time and money and help them avoid requiring dentures or implants for as long as possible.

In Some Cases, Oral Surgery Falls Under Both Medical and Dental Insurance

Oral health issues can become more serious general health issues if they’re left untreated. Some complex oral surgeries, such as difficult wisdom tooth extractions, biopsies or treatments for facial injuries, may be covered by both medical and dental insurance. In this case, a person may decide to ask the oral surgeon to bill the procedure to their medical insurance to extend the useful life of their dental insurance.

Dental policies usually have an annual coverage limit, so someone who needs an extensive course of treatment (such as several fillings), may decide it’s better to direct as many bills as possible to their medical insurance.