You may be wondering what type of dental procedures are considered to be routine, preventative or restorative, in contrast to procedures that are considered to fall under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. Some people hear the word ‘cosmetic’ and think that they will automatically have to pay out of pocket for any procedure that is performed since, by its very nature, the word cosmetic indicates that something is for looks only and may not otherwise be medically necessary.
Of course, there are some types of cosmetic dental procedures that would be considered to be purely cosmetic in nature. Take, for example, teeth whitening. There is no reason other than making your teeth look brighter and whiter that would require a person to undergo any type of tooth whitening procedure. The same would go for a procedure such as the Snap-On Smile.
However, many types of procedures that typically fall under the realm of cosmetic dentistry may be performed for reasons other than simply to make your teeth look better. That is, even though they are cosmetic dental procedures, they may be performed for restorative reasons or for some other reason that affects the optimal health and function of your teeth, gums, jaw and mouth.
As an example, consider a person that loses a tooth, whether due to decay, an accident or some other reason. If an empty space is left where the tooth used to be, it not only diminishes the appearance of a person’s smile, but can also affect the functioning of the mouth, as it relates to chewing, biting, eating and speaking. It can also affect the health of underlying gums, which are now subjected to debris and plaque that may not have otherwise been able to reach the gum area if a tooth was in place. A missing tooth that is not replaced can also affect the strength of the underlying bone, since in a similar fashion to the ‘use it or lose it’ mentality of muscles, if your jaw bone doesn’t have a tooth implanted into it, that area of the jaw, since it no longer has a function, can begin to deteriorate and weaken. Finally, a missing tooth can cause a person’s entire bite to shift, changing the proper alignment of the teeth which can then have implications on a person’s eating and speaking ability.
That leaves a number of cosmetic dental procedures, such as dental implants or dental bridges, with a function that is more than simply cosmetic. Although many cosmetic dentists will provide these types of services, in most cases, the benefits they offer go beyond simply making your smile more attractive.
With that being said, it is important to consider that even if your dental insurance does not cover cosmetic dentistry, if one of these types of procedures is necessary to improve or protect the overall health and functionality of your teeth, gums and bone, it can easily become a covered procedure. That’s why it’s always best to check with your insurance provider prior to beginning any treatment to find out what types of procedures they cover, and to see if there are any extenuating circumstances in which they would cover a particular procedure that may be labeled as ‘cosmetic’ rather than ‘restorative’, since it has a needed purpose.
For more information about cosmetic dental procedures, or to schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in Queens to discuss the need for any particular type of procedure, contact Park Dental Care at 718-274-1515.