Does dental insurance cover screening methods for detecting oral cancer?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Depending on the type of screening method being used to try and catch oral cancer, it may be covered by your dental insurance and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan might be determined by you (covered does not mean paid for in toto). For example, at a routine dental check-up (you know, the one in which the hygienist brushes, flosses, and polishes your teeth way more thoroughly than you ever could, and then reminds you to floss daily), typically also includes a visual screen. The visual screen is a thorough look inside your mouth to identify spots, sores, or lesions that may indicate oral cancer. Since this type of screening is part of a routine dental exam, your dental insurance will cover this if it covers routine visits to your dentist.

Other methods for screening include fluorescent staining of the mouth and another staining method called toluidine blue. These methods may or may not be covered by your dental benefits plan. To find out which screening methods are covered, call the benefits office at work, or the number on the back of your dental benefits plan card. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.