Earlier this month, reporters focused on the story of a 17-year-old girl who fell off her skateboard while going down a hill. She hit her face, broke her jaw, and had to have five of her teeth removed because they were so badly damaged. She spent four days in the hospital, then spent six weeks with her jaw wired shut to heal.
When she had healed, she found that although her health insurance had covered much of her treatment and recovery, it wouldn’t cover dental implants to replace her lost teeth. The reason? Her dental implants were considered “cosmetic.”
This is an explanation we hear all the time, but is it really true?
Dental Implants Are the Most Cosmetic Tooth Replacement Option
It’s true that dental implants have great cosmetic benefits. They are able to look just like natural teeth. They can have a natural color, luster, and shape. They’re likely indistinguishable from your other teeth by anyone other than a dentist.
There are no wires or brackets that go around nearby teeth, and they’re not fused to neighboring teeth like a dental bridge. They are never loose or out of place.
But Dental Implants Are Also Functional
However, dental implants are also the most functional tooth replacement option. Because they are anchored in the jawbone, they allow people to eat all the same foods they enjoyed before losing teeth.
Dental implants stimulate the jawbone to prevent its removal by the body. In the case of the 17-year-old girl described above, for example, even just in the time that she’s been waiting to get her implants, she has lost so much jawbone that she requires a bone graft to support implants if she gets them.
Dental implants also don’t damage nearby teeth. They don’t require the removal of tooth material to place crowns on adjacent teeth like dental bridges, nor do they have hooks, clasps, and other securement methods that partial dentures use. These securement methods can cause wear on other teeth and can lead to damage and decay if not properly cared for.
With all of these functional benefits, dental implants are becoming the new standard of care.
Insurance Isn’t Always the Best Value
Overall, insurance is something of a racket. Insurance companies make money because they take in more money than they pay out. In order for that to be true, most people with insurance have to pay more in than they receive back. One of the ways they do this is by negotiating better deals from providers like dentists. But the other way they do it is by not covering everything you think they might cover.
When you buy insurance, make sure you understand what you’re paying for so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s a good value for you.
At B & D Dental Excellence in Rockland County, we are happy to work with your insurance company, but we also strive to make it easier for people without insurance to get the dental care they need. To learn more, please call 845-627-7645 to talk to Kim about your payment options.