What Dental Procedures are Covered by Medical Insurance?

what dental procedures are covered by medical insurance


Understanding the scope of your medical insurance coverage can be confusing, especially when it comes to dental procedures. Many people are unsure about what dental treatments are covered by their medical insurance plans and how to make the most out of their benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the common dental procedures that are typically covered by medical insurance and provide useful tips to help you navigate the complex world of insurance coverage.

What Dental Procedures are Covered by Medical Insurance?

Medical insurance plans typically provide coverage for a range of dental procedures. While the extent of coverage may vary depending on your specific plan, here are some commonly covered dental treatments:

  • Cleanings and Checkups: Routine dental exams and cleanings are usually covered by medical insurance. These preventive measures help maintain oral health and can prevent more serious dental issues in the future.
  • X-rays: Diagnostic imaging, such as dental x-rays, are often covered by medical insurance. These images help dentists identify issues that may not be visible during a regular dental exam.
  • Fillings: Dental fillings, which are used to treat cavities and restore tooth structure, are typically covered by medical insurance. However, the type of filling material may affect coverage.
  • Extractions: Tooth extractions, including wisdom tooth removal, are commonly covered by medical insurance. However, there may be limitations on coverage depending on the complexity of the extraction.
  • Root Canals: Root canal procedures, which are performed to repair and save an infected or decayed tooth, are often covered by medical insurance. However, coverage may vary depending on the specific plan.
  • Periodontal Treatments: Some medical insurance plans cover certain periodontal treatments, such as scaling and root planing, to treat gum disease.
  • Oral Surgeries: Certain oral surgeries, such as biopsies or tumor removals, may be covered by medical insurance depending on the underlying condition.

It’s important to note that coverage for dental procedures may differ between medical insurance plans. It’s recommended to review your policy or contact your insurance provider for specific details regarding coverage.

How to Maximize Your Dental Insurance Benefits

Understanding your dental insurance benefits and maximizing coverage can help you save money on dental treatments. Here are some tips to get the most out of your medical insurance:

  1. Know Your Plan: Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your medical insurance plan. Take note of coverage limitations, waiting periods, and any exclusions that may apply to dental treatments.
  2. Preventive Care: Take advantage of covered preventive treatments, such as regular cleanings and checkups. Maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent more costly dental procedures in the future.
  3. In-Network Providers: Utilize in-network dental providers to receive optimal coverage. Out-of-network dentists may still be covered, but the reimbursement rates can be lower.
  4. Get Treatment Estimates: Before undergoing any major dental procedures, request a cost estimate from your dentist. This will help you understand how much your insurance will cover and anticipate any out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. Appeal Denied Claims: If a dental claim is denied, don’t hesitate to appeal the decision. Mistakes can happen, and providing any necessary documentation or additional information might change the outcome.
  6. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): If you have an FSA or HSA, consider using these funds for dental treatments not covered by your medical insurance.
  7. Annual Maximums: Be aware of your plan’s annual maximum, which is the maximum amount your insurance will pay for dental treatments within a year. Plan accordingly to avoid exceeding this limit.

FAQs About Dental Procedures Covered by Medical Insurance

1. Are cosmetic dentistry procedures covered by medical insurance?

No, most cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as teeth whitening or veneers, are considered elective and are typically not covered by medical insurance. However, some dental insurance plans may offer limited coverage for certain cosmetic procedures that are deemed medically necessary, such as dental implants for restoring missing teeth.

2. Are orthodontic treatments covered by medical insurance?

Orthodontic treatments, including braces or clear aligners, are usually not covered by medical insurance. However, specific orthodontic coverage may be available through dental insurance plans. It’s important to check your individual policy to determine the extent of orthodontic coverage, if any.

3. Do dental insurance plans cover dental emergencies?

Most dental insurance plans provide coverage for dental emergencies. Examples of dental emergencies may include severe tooth pain, knocked-out teeth, or injuries to the mouth or jaw. However, coverage for emergency dental treatments may vary depending on the plan.

4. Can medical insurance cover dental procedures related to systemic health conditions?

Yes, in some cases, medical insurance may cover dental procedures that are necessary for the treatment of systemic health conditions. For example, dental treatments related to oral infections that may affect a patient’s overall health may be covered by medical insurance.

5. How can I find out if a specific dental procedure is covered by my medical insurance?

To determine if a specific dental procedure is covered by your medical insurance, it’s best to consult your plan’s coverage documents or contact your insurance provider directly. The insurance company can provide you with information regarding coverage, limitations, and any applicable out-of-pocket costs.

6. Can I have dental insurance without medical insurance?

Yes, it is possible to have dental insurance without medical insurance. Dental insurance plans are often offered separately and are not always bundled with medical insurance. Standalone dental insurance plans allow individuals to have coverage specifically for dental treatments.


Understanding what dental procedures are covered by your medical insurance is essential for maximizing your benefits and making informed decisions about your oral health. While coverage may vary between plans, certain dental treatments, such as cleanings, x-rays, fillings, extractions, root canals, periodontal treatments, and oral surgeries, are commonly covered under medical insurance. By familiarizing yourself with your plan’s terms, utilizing in-network providers, and taking advantage of preventive care, you can make the most out of your dental insurance and save on out-of-pocket expenses.