Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Health Care v. Dental Care

I was wondering recently why health care does not cover dental work.

My teeth, after all, are part of my body, too. And a very important part, I might add. I like to eat (obviously).

I decided to look this question up on the omnipotent Internet. I found some interesting answers.

For one thing, Medicare doesn't cover much dental work. There is some debate as to whether it covers some, but if it does, it doesn't cover much.

I find this unsettling because an abscessed tooth can kill you just as dead as gangrene in your toe. And we don't have separate digit insurance for those 20-odd items on the body, now do we?

Apparently it would take an act of Congress (for real) to change Medicare so that dental work is a covered service.

One reason I found said that dentistry is not considered medicine, so it isn't covered. However, I consider it medicinal. I mean, root canals are a type of surgery like taking a scope to your knee, isn't it?

There is dental insurance but generally policies do not cover major expenses. I suppose, like all insurance, dental insurance is only there to collect your money, not pay it out for the things you need.

Basically, all health care has become political in the United States, and thus what is or isn't covered depends on who has the most power and the ability to get what they want.

Some of the articles I read indicate that the medical profession didn't want dentists involved, so set about making sure insurance did not cover their services.

However, during my search I discovered that the Affordable Health Care Act passed in 2010 addresses some of the disparity in care for teeth as opposed to other body parts. If you're interested in a long discussion about it, I found a paper here that has a great deal of information.

If you are wondering what prompted this inquiry, the answer is a root canal scheduled for Thursday. I am terrified.

At least we are no longer in the day when one went to the barber shop to get a tooth taken care of. I am grateful for that.


  1. have you ever had one? if not ... i will ask you how you feel afterwards? do you know the song by Blake Shelton "Some Beach" ... check it out. find your happy place & stay there. think happy thoughts. it will all be over very soon. keep the faith. you can do it. breathe. relax & repeat. ( :

  2. I have never had a root canal, but I make sure my dentist gives me good pain meds, gas, or whatever I require to not feel any discomfort.

  3. The NHS used to cover dental treatments over here, but no longer covers everyone. Move, and you are likely to have to find yourself being treated by a private dentist. This comes from a number of sources - meanness on the part of the government being one. Also dentists prefer to work privately - they make much more money from private work. And increasingly, they present themselves as involved with appearance, not health. They don't offer to help keep you healthy, but to give you a TV personality style smile. At comparable prices. Now, if you have health problems stemming from your teeth, and haven't been offered (or been able to afford) preventative care by your dentist, the NHS deals with the crisis after it develops instead.

  4. I have come to the conclusion that insurance will only cover what you need to live. You can still eat with no teeth, they think it's ok to be blind, and if you're deaf thats ok too. Makes no sense to me at all.

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