Question

Dental Insurance Plans

Does dental insurance cover gum disease (periodontal disease)?

A Answers (2)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, and treatment for this (potentially) progressive infection may be covered by your dental benefits plan. Early in the infection, periodontal disease is called gingivitis; later on, as the infection gets worse, it is called periodontitis.

    Depending on your specific plan, your insurance may cover part of the cost of an extra cleaning to prevent gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis or part of other procedures you need, but in some cases you may be stuck covering the cost. If your benefits come through your work, call up the benefits office. Otherwise, call the number on your dental benefits membership card to figure out what will be covered. And then, go brush your teeth for two minutes and floss afterwards -- it’s an easy (and cost efficient!) way to prevent gum disease. But do floss daily and get your gingivitis and periodontal disease treated because these predispose you to heart attacks, strokes, impotence, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, and even miscarriage. Periodontal disease is that serious.
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  • AUnitedHealthcare answered
    Most dental plans cover the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease (periodontal disease) and associated dental problems. Depending on the type of dental insurance you have, you may pay a portion of the cost for treatment of gum disease. Because diseases of the gum can be long-lasting (chronic), you may need ongoing dental care. Infection of the gums is a common problem in older adults. It has been linked to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or pre-term pregnancies. Proper diagnosis and supervision by the dentist can help manage this problem. If you get an abscess in the gum caused by infection in a pocket or crevice near a tooth, see your dentist immediately. Understand how your dental insurance covers emergencies such as this. The pain and swelling are intense and similar to a toothache. Chronic gum infection causes bleeding when teeth are brushed as well as chronic halitosis, but may not necessarily be painful. This can accompany bone loss around the teeth and may promote tooth loss.
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How are Fee-for-Service dental plans different from PPOs?