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Insurance Coverage for Dental Implants

Aparna Iyer Oct 6, 2018
Dental implants that may be essential for the good health of your teeth are expensive, and the insurance company may refuse to cover the cost of the procedure. However, there are other options that can be explored.
Tooth loss may occur because of tooth decay, gum disease, accidents, congenital defects, excessive wear and tear, and root canal failure. A dental implant is an artificial replacement for a lost tooth. In fact, it is considered the best form of replacement.
It uses titanium which fuses with the jawbone preventing bone loss. This process is called osseointegration. It is a permanent but expensive prosthetic solution.

Dental Implants Vs Cheaper Alternatives

Removable dentures and dental bridges are the commonly suggested cheaper alternatives to tackle the problem of tooth loss. The latter generally lasts for 5 to 7 years and even longer with good oral hygiene, and are recommended in case fewer teeth need to be replaced.
Dental bridges use the adjacent teeth for support and may damage the teeth that act as anchors. They may fail in case the person suffers from gum disease. Whereas dentures rest on the gum and may result in bone loss in the area where the tooth is missing. They are not a permanent solution, and are a source of embarrassment to some people.
The total cost of an implant varies depending upon the complexity of the situation. If the bridge is a traditional bridge, then cost increases and hence, the need for insurance arises.
Considering the exorbitant cost of dental care, dental health coverage is a must. However, a dental insurance policy does not include all the necessary procedures. According to the Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT) clause, the insurance company is expected to pay for the treatment with the least cost.
Moreover, dental implants also fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry. Hence, the company may not cover them. In some cases, the company may agree to pay a portion of the bill, leaving the remaining cost of the procedure to be borne by the individual seeking treatment.

Cost-effective Methods

  • Seeking Treatment Outside the US: The cost of traveling to a foreign country to seek medical treatment is a surprisingly affordable option. In fact, in Romania, a dental implant is available for as low as USD 535. The entire procedure, including travel expenses, would add up to less than one-third of the cost of the procedure in the US.
  • Approaching a Dental School: This is not a bad option for people who are in desperate need of treatment. A dental school may be willing to perform the procedure even for free, as a part of their research studies. Of course, the problem should be interesting and complicated enough to compel the school to handle the case.
  • Cosmetic Alternatives: Sometimes, women opt for implants to show more teeth while speaking or laughing. Those with small teeth generally face this problem. Injecting collagen into the lips can help achieve the same goal at a lower price.