A mouth with inside of the mouth

Easing the Financial Dent of Dental Work

Last updated: September 2022

There’s no doubt that oral health impacts overall physical health. For many with cystic fibrosis (CF) our health can often affect our dental health as well. From the effects of weakened bones and enamel directly caused by CF to some of the strong medications necessary to thrive, our teeth can sometimes become quite damaged. For some, we spend so much time fighting to keep healthy, our dental health isn’t as much of a top priority. Whatever the cause it’s well-known dental health can drastically affect overall health. Additionally, it’s well known that dental health costs can be a huge burden.

The cost of correction

I had my final dental appointment last week to get a crown put on one of my back teeth. It was a three-visit process. I have always struggled with weak enamel. I don’t quite know if it’s caused by a symptom of my CF, a medication, or my genetics. It’s been a burden either way. This latest crown was just one of numerous procedures I’ve had over the years. While I am lucky to have dental coverage that takes care of roughly 60 percent of the cost, the cost is still heavy. Add in the struggle to work consistently, due to my health, and that hefty price tag does not come easy.

Some happy news!

So, imagine my pleasant surprise when my dentist informed me, she was in the process of contacting my medical insurance to see if they would cover the remaining cost. Being I have a severe illness that can contribute to the weakening of enamel, she felt pretty confident she could get medical involved in the payment process. I’d never really thought of that before, so I was thrilled to hear of the possibility. My first thought (after the elation over saving money) was I wonder if other CF patients are aware of this? I knew I just had to share it with you all just in case others were unaware.

Worth a shot

Naturally, every insurance is different. So, what works for one of us may not work for the next, but it’s definitely worth asking about. It may of course be a battle, but more often than not, a worthwhile one.

Dental to medical crossover can cause administrative headaches and pause access to necessary dental services. All in all, your patient medical plan will in many cases argue their dental benefits.

The good news though is that medical insurance will cover dental work for many instances where your health is involved. Health insurance has the ability in many cases to give some leeway with a dentist billing medical insurance.

Fitting the bill

Dental plans are pretty specific about the dental procedures it will specifically cover. It is at minimum worth asking your dentist about or personally researching beforehand. One such allowance often considered for medical coverage is oral health problems that are triggered by other general health deficiencies. These procedures could be filed under your patient’s medical insurance. We all pretty much fall under the general health deficiencies category.

Additionally, if cost is preventing you from receiving treatment, which could end up risking a decline in your health, you may also fit the bill for health-related needs.

Next time you find yourself in the dentist chair it may be something to consider. Discussing your concerns with your dental care team definitely can't hurt.

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