My daughter has always had problems with her teeth because she doesn’t have as much enamel as she should. She recently had her braces removed and there were splotches on her teeth. The dentist suggested we do teeth whitening to even out the color. While we can afford it, I wondered if dental insurance will cover this because it is a repair or is this considered completely cosmetic?
There are a few issues going on here. First, let’s talk about what these splotches resulted from. I am going on the assumption they weren’t on her teeth before she got braces. When that happens, it means that she didn’t adequately brush her teeth while her braces were on. It can be tricky. Generally, I recommend people with braces keep a toothbrush and toothpaste with them at all times. As soon as they eat something they need to get in there and brush thoroughly. The same is true if they drink an acidic beverage such as soda or fruit juice. Though, it is important to rinse the mouth with water before brushing in those cases, so she doesn’t brush the acid into her teeth.
A second issue here is your dentist’s recommendation. Teeth whitening will actually make your daughter’s teeth worse in this situation. Whitening bleaches the teeth evenly. That means the splotches will still be there, but brighter and more obvious. So, no, don’t do that.
The best solution in this situation is cosmetic bonding. The picture I posted above shows how dental bonding is used to treat a chipped tooth. When done by an excellent cosmetic dentist the results are natural and beautiful. Your family dentist will not be able to do this well. It is an advanced cosmetic procedure which takes a great deal of skill and artistry. This is especially true because it has to be done freehand. Your dentist is not qualified. He doesn’t even have a grasp of teeth whitening, which is the most basic cosmetic procedure. The best cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. That would be the skill of a dentist I’d want working on your daughter’s teeth.
Finally, you asked if dental insurance will cover this repair. Depending on your insurance, they will help with the dental bonding because it is a repair. However, that is not the same as covering the repair. The best you can expect is they will be a partial help.
This blog is brought to you by Des Moines Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Phelan Thomas.