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Does dental insurance ever cover dental implants?

I am missing all of my upper teeth. I’ve been wearing a full upper denture, but it is just not working for me anymore, and my dentist has suggested dental implants. They are really expensive! Do you know of any dental insurance plans that cover implants?

Gloria in Abilene

Dear Gloria,

You might have a tough decision to make. Depending on how long you have been missing your upper teeth, your upper jaw may have deteriorated quite a bit. Many people don’t realize until it is too late that having all of your teeth removed causes your jaw bones to actually shrink. After several years, your jaw can deteriorate to the point where you can no longer wear a denture. It sounds like you might be there now.

And it is a sad truth that you will not find a dental insurance company that will pay for dental implants. If you consider the situation from the dental insurance company’s point of view, it would make little sense to sell you a policy and then pay out many times the cost of the policy for your dental care.

If you or a spouse has dental insurance available through a place of employment, that might be your best chance for getting any help at all with the cost of your dental implants. Though dental plans through employers generally offer the best service coverage, they rarely pay for dental implants. They will pay for the cheapest treatment, which is not going to be dental implants, and many companies have $500-%1,000 annual caps on services, which does not go far towards extensive dental treatment.

An alternative for you might be to get some dental implants to anchor an upper denture. Even a few dental implants will help slow the deterioration of your upper jaw bone.

Talk to your dentist candidly about affordable options.

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Dr. Whitmore, DDS.

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