It’s always stressful at the end of the year when you have a flexible spending account. Did you put in too much money? How will you spend what’s there so you don’t lose it? A flex spending account is a great way to save yourself money by getting to spend pre-tax dollars on medical care, including dental care.
Reconstructive dentistry is a great option if you find you have flex dollars you aren’t sure how to spend. Here’s why.
Avoid the Shortfalls of Dental Insurance
Dental insurance has poor coverage of many dental procedures. Either they are not covered, or the coverage only allows for the minimum procedure, leaving you to pay additional costs out-of-pocket. Well, you can pay those out-of-pocket costs using your flex dollars to see a significant savings.
Some of the popular reconstructive dentistry procedures that are only partly covered include:
The reason these are often only partly covered is that the insurance company considers many of the benefits to be aesthetic. For example, your insurance company may only pay for metal amalgam fillings, rather than tooth-colored fillings. Or maybe only for resin fillings but not for ceramic inlays or onlays.
With dental crowns, a metal crown might be covered, or a porcelain fused to metal, but not a fully ceramic crown. The crown is usually the limitation for root canals, too.
Dental implants are a procedure that may or may not be covered by your dental insurance at all. For some insurance companies, dental implants are considered cosmetic dentistry, despite the fact that they give numerous functional benefits—and even health benefits that may save insurers money.
Cosmetic Benefit, but Not Cosmetic Dentistry
It’s important to remember that flex spending cannot be used for purely cosmetic dentistry. It can cover many procedures that have practical benefits as well as cosmetic benefits. The biggest of these is orthodontics like Invisalign. You can get your teeth straightened with pre-tax dollars. And if you start your orthodontic procedure now, you can plan out payments for next year. Your orthodontic treatment cost can be divided up into regular monthly payments so you know exactly how much to put aside for flex spending next year—no end-of-year rush.
And don’t forget that you can get an additional cleaning this year if you want. Additional cleanings can help if you tend to develop a lot of tartar (dental calculus) that can be both unsightly and annoying to remove. Getting tartar removed more often can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, but insurance won’t cover it.
Replacing a large metal filling with a porcelain crown will not only make your smile more attractive, it can help preserve your tooth, and may alleviate problems like temperature and pressure sensitivity.
If you’ve been putting a dental procedure off for a while, but now you have extra money in your flex account, now is the time to get the procedure done.