Does Health Insurance Cover Dental Procedures?

Does Health Insurance Cover Dental Procedures?

Health insurance usually does not cover dental procedures, but some plans may have optional dental coverage. However, it is important to carefully review the specific policy to determine what dental services are covered and at what cost.

Maintaining good oral health is essential to prevent various health problems. Dental treatments can be expensive and take a toll on your finances. This is where health insurance might come in handy, but it is not always the case. Generally, health insurance policies do not cover dental procedures, although some may offer optional dental coverage.

If you are considering purchasing insurance for dental care, it is important to carefully review the policy to understand what is covered and at what cost. In this article, we will explore what dental services are covered by insurance and how dental insurance works.

What Dental Procedures Are Covered By Health Insurance?

If you’re wondering whether your health insurance will cover dental procedures, you’re not alone. It can be tough to understand the details of what’s covered and what’s not. In this section, we’ll outline the basics of what dental procedures are typically covered by health insurance.

Definition Of “Medically Necessary” Procedures

Many health insurance plans cover “medically necessary” dental procedures. These are dental procedures that are deemed essential for your overall health, such as treatments for infections, trauma, and oral diseases.

Common Procedures, Such As Fillings And Root Canals, That May Be Covered

Most health insurance plans will cover some common dental procedures, such as fillings and root canals. These procedures help prevent further damage to your teeth, and are often considered medically necessary. The extent of coverage for these procedures may vary depending on your specific insurance plan.

Procedures That Are Typically Not Covered, Such As Cosmetic Dentistry

While health insurance plans will often cover essential dental procedures, they typically do not cover cosmetic dentistry procedures like teeth whitening or veneers. These procedures are considered elective, and are not typically deemed medically necessary.

It’s important to remember that the extent of coverage for dental procedures varies depending on your specific insurance plan. Some plans may cover more procedures than others, and some may require you to pay a deductible or co-pay. Be sure to review your insurance plan carefully so you understand what’s covered.

Types Of Health Insurance Plans

Explanation Of Different Health Insurance Plan Options

Before we delve into how dental coverage may vary by plan type, here’s an overview of the various health insurance plans:

  • Health maintenance organization (hmo) plan: This plan provides coverage only when you receive care from healthcare providers within the plan’s network.
  • Preferred provider organization (ppo) plan: This plan provides greater flexibility than hmos; you have the liberty to see doctors who aren’t in the network.
  • Point-of-service (pos) plan: Here, you select a primary care physician from the network, and you receive coverage for both in-network and out-of-network care.
  • High-deductible health plan (hdhp): This plan requires you to pay a higher deductible before insurance coverage begins, but the monthly premiums are significantly lower than other plans.

How Dental Coverage May Vary By Plan Type

Most health insurance plans do not cover routine dental procedures and treatments. However, preventive dental care, such as cleanings and x-rays, are often covered.

When it comes to other dental procedures, coverage varies from one plan type to the next. Here’s an example:

  • Hmo plans: These typically have limited dental coverage, and you may only be covered under the specific circumstances or emergencies.
  • Ppo/pos plans: These tend to have more comprehensive dental coverage, and you will typically have the flexibility to visit any dentist you prefer.
  • Hdhps: These may offer dental coverage, but it may be limited. To receive coverage, you may have to pay a higher deductible.

Examples Of Specific Plans And Their Coverage Options

Let’s take a look at some popular health insurance plans and how they cover dental procedures:

  • Blue cross blue shield’s preferred provider organization (ppo) plan provides an in-network dentist that covers preventive dental treatments such as bi-annual cleanings and fillings.
  • Cigna’s flexible spending account (fsa) program puts money into the account, and people can use the money for routine care like checkups and braces.
  • Unitedhealthcare’s high-deductible health plan (hdhp) with health savings account (hsa) gives money for qualifying medical expenses.

It’s essential to check the specifics of your health insurance policy to determine the extent of dental coverage available. Knowing what is covered under your plan can help you make cost-effective choices when it comes to seeking dental treatments.

Limits And Exclusions

Explanation Of Coverage Limits And Exclusions For Dental Procedures

Dental care is often an essential aspect of overall health care, but unfortunately, not all health insurance plans cover dental procedures. It’s vital to understand the limits and exclusions of your health insurance policy to take care of your oral health properly.

A policy’s limits refer to the maximum amount an insurance provider will pay for dental procedures. On the other hand, exclusions are the procedures that insurance companies don’t cover or deem as medically unnecessary.

In most cases, dental procedures are categorized as either routine or major and may have varying limits and exclusions. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider about what your coverage entails to avoid unexpected costs.

Examples Of Common Limits And Exclusions

The limits and exclusions of dental coverage typically depend on the provider and the specific insurance plan. However, here are some common limits and exclusions in most policies:


  • Annual or lifetime caps on coverage amount
  • A specific number of covered regular cleanings or orthodontic treatments per year
  • Limitations on procedures based on necessity


  • Cosmetic procedures like teeth whitening
  • Experimental procedures that are not yet approved by dental associations or insurance providers
  • Braces for individuals who are over 18 years old.

How To Find Out What Is Covered Under A Specific Insurance Plan

The best way to find out what dental procedures your insurance plan covers is by reviewing the policy carefully. You can also call your insurance provider’s customer service or go to their website for further clarification. You can get answers to important questions like:

  • What procedures are covered for routine and major treatments?
  • What are the limits and exclusions of my plan?
  • Is there a deductible, copayment, coinsurance, or any other fees that will affect my out-of-pocket costs?

Knowing the limits and exclusions of your dental coverage is essential for planning and budgeting your oral health care. With the right information, you can optimize your plan and ensure that your dental health is well taken care of.

Alternatives To Traditional Health Insurance For Dental Coverage

Overview Of Alternatives, Such As Dental Discount Plans

When it comes to dental treatments, traditional health insurance plans may not always cover all procedures. This is where alternatives to traditional health insurance come in. One of the most popular and cost-effective alternatives is a dental discount plan.

A dental discount plan is a type of membership that offers discounts on dental services. These plans often have lower prices than traditional dental insurance and are available to everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

Here are some key points to consider about dental discount plans:

  • Dental discount plans provide members with discounts on dental services from participating providers.
  • These plans often come at a lower cost than traditional dental insurance plans.
  • One downside is that these plans typically require you to pay the full amount of the discounted services upfront.

Pros And Cons Of These Alternatives

As with any alternative option, dental discount plans have both pros and cons. Here are a few to keep in mind:


  • Dental discount plans provide discounts on a wide variety of dental services.
  • Unlike traditional dental insurance, these plans do not have waiting periods or limits on annual maximums.
  • There are usually no deductibles or copays associated with dental discount plans.


  • Dental discount plans may have a limited selection of participating providers in your area.
  • These plans may not cover certain procedures, such as cosmetic treatments.
  • You will need to pay the full amount of the discounted service upfront, which could be a burden for some individuals.

How To Determine If An Alternative Option Is Right For You

If you’re considering an alternative to traditional health insurance for dental coverage, it’s important to determine whether it’s the right choice for your specific needs. Here are a few key factors to consider:

  • Look at the types of dental procedures you need and see if they are covered by a dental discount plan or other alternative option.
  • Determine your budget for dental care and see if a dental discount plan fits into it.
  • Research the providers in your area that participate in a dental discount plan and make sure you are comfortable with their level of care.

Alternative options like dental discount plans can be a great way to access affordable dental care. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and ensure the option is right for your specific needs before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions On Does Health Insurance Cover Dental

Does Health Insurance Cover Dental Services?

Some health insurance policies cover basic dental procedures, so it’s essential to check your policy before getting a dental service. However, most health plans don’t offer comprehensive dental coverage, and you may need to buy separate dental insurance.

What Is Covered In Basic Dental Insurance?

Basic dental insurance policies usually cover preventive care, including dental exams, cleanings and x-rays, and some minor restorative work such as fillings and extractions. Orthodontic treatments, cosmetic procedures, and more extensive oral procedures are not included in basic coverage.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Comprehensive Dental Insurance?

Comprehensive dental insurance helps you save more money in the long run, especially if you need extensive oral procedures. It covers preventive, basic, and major dental procedures, orthodontic treatments, and sometimes cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, veneers, or dental implants.

How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost?

The cost of dental insurance varies depending on various factors like the location, insurance company, the type of coverage, and the age of the insured. On average, basic full-coverage dental insurance costs around $350-$450 per year, while a comprehensive plan costs around $500-$800 per year.

Is It Cheaper To Pay Out-Of-Pocket For Dental Work?

It may seem cheaper to pay out-of-pocket, but it can be more costly in the long run, especially if you need extensive dental work. With dental insurance, you get preventive care at no cost, and you receive coverage for basic and major dental procedures, reducing your overall dental expenses.

What Are Your Options If You Can’T Afford Dental Insurance?

If you can’t afford dental insurance, you can consider joining a dental discount plan, which offers significant discounts on dental services. Other options include dental clinics that offer affordable or free dental care, community health centers, and dental schools, which offer treatment at a reduced price.


Dental care is a crucial aspect of one’s overall health, and it is important to understand how your health insurance policy covers dental treatment. While many health insurance plans offer dental coverage, it is likely that you will need to supplement this coverage with additional dental insurance.

Before enrolling in any plan, it is essential to carefully review the policy for information on dental coverage, costs, and any limitations. It is also important to be aware of any restrictions on the types of treatments and services covered by your policy.

Failure to properly understand your health insurance policy can result in unexpected dental expenses and additional financial burden. Investing in comprehensive dental insurance provides peace of mind and ensures that you receive the necessary care to maintain your dental health in the long run.

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