When you see the word “cosmetic” in front of any health-related procedure, your first thought is probably that your insurance won’t pay for it.
But why do we visit the dentist? For most of us, the top concerns are regular checkups, and repairing cavities or other oral health issues that arise in between. It can be a bit confusing, then, to hear about “cosmetic” dentistry. Cosmetic implies something that’s done purely for looks, with few if any tangible health benefits.
In reality, many dental procedures that could be labelled as cosmetic also have applications directly tied to your oral health. Repairing a chipped tooth, for example, would certainly qualify as cosmetic, but it’s something most insurance companies have no qualms covering. That’s because repairing a chipped tooth also relieves pain, allows you to eat normally, and helps avoid further complications like a completely broken tooth. There are many similar procedures, with benefits both cosmetic and health-related, so it’s wise to check twice before assuming your insurance company won’t cover dental work that you need.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Calgary: What’s the Difference?
When you have a root canal, cavity filling, or other work done, your first concern is likely your health. It’s only natural, though, to also want your teeth to look “right” when the procedure is over. Right can mean pearly white, or it can mean that your repaired teeth match your other ones. Your dentist, of course, wants you to be happy with your smile, so even purely health-related dental procedures are always done in a cosmetically pleasing way.
- Consider cavity fillings. While amalgam (metal) fillings are still used occasionally, most newer filling materials are made to match the natural colour of teeth. It’s a small but welcome cosmetic bonus, and it doesn’t take away from the health benefits of a filling at all. In fact, most cosmetic filling materials are more effective and longer-lasting than amalgam.
- A veneer really sounds like something cosmetic, right? Crowns and veneers do look nice, but they’re also used to repair serious oral health issues. When a tooth is too damaged for a filling, a crown can be used to repair it, without the need to sacrifice the tooth. These procedures are more cost-effective and less invasive than replacing a damaged tooth with an implant.
- Bonding is another procedure with wide-ranging applications, from minor fixes to reshaping severely damaged teeth. The material used in bonding is tooth-coloured, but that’s more of a side benefit to the repair that’s being done.
- Crowning, bonding, and veneers can also be used to repair crookedness or gaps in teeth. The cosmetic benefit is clear, but fixing misaligned teeth also helps stave off tooth decay by making it easier to clean hard-to-reach areas where plaque buildup is common.
- Invisalign is relatively new method for fixing crookedness and gaps. Treatment involves wearing a series of clear plastic trays (called aligners) that are practically invisible, and can be less invasive and more effective than regular braces.
- Sedation dentistry is sometimes lumped into the cosmetic category, because it’s viewed as elective. People who choose sedation dentistry aren’t just looking for a nap, though. It’s a legitimate, necessary option that allows patients with dental phobias to get the care they need.
Making Sure You’re Covered
The best way to make sure insurance will cover a procedure is to know your policy inside out. By researching your insurance policy, you can learn how your insurance company classifies different procedures. Learning about your policy is also the best way to make sure that you’re getting the most from your insurance, whether you’re stopping in for a checkup or have a tooth in need of major repair. The peace of mind you’ll get from knowing what’s covered is more than worth the effort, even if you’re not in immediate need of dental work.
Experience the benefits of quality oral healthcare firsthand? The friendly, experienced team at Loreen Wong Dentistry is currently accepting new patients. Feel free to stop by our office in downtown Calgary. We look forward to seeing you!