Does Dental Insurance Cover the Cost of Emergency Care?

Dental emergencies often happen when you least expect them and can grind life to a halt. When dealing with a painful broken tooth or other serious injury or infection, the last thing you want is added financial stress. You know your dental insurance covers things like routine checkups, but will it cover the urgent dental care you need? Don’t wait until your tooth gets dislodged to find out! Keep reading below to learn about insurance coverage and dental emergencies.

Factors That Impact the Cost of Emergency Dental Care

From a throbbing toothache to a knocked-out tooth, there are many different types of dental emergencies. Because every case is different, there is no one-size-fits-all cost to emergency dental treatment. Here are some of the various factors that can contribute to the cost of treating a dental emergency:

  • The severity of the injury or infection
  • The type of treatment your situation requires
  • The cost of living where you are seeking emergency care
  • Your dental insurance coverage

What Dental Insurance Covers

The good news is that many dental plans include provisions for urgent care or after-hours care. However, you should be aware that you may still owe a deductible, co-pay or a large percentage of the cost of emergency treatment.

In general, most dental insurance plans provide greater coverage for preventive care. Although every plan is slightly different, most follow the 100-80-50 structure:

  • Preventive Services – Routine checkups and dental X-rays are typically covered at 100%.
  • Basic Procedures – Dental fillings, root canals, and simple extractions are usually covered at around 80%.
  • Major Procedures – Crowns, dentures and bridges are typically covered at 50%.

Financial Options to Consider

In addition to your insurance plan, your dentist may offer additional financing options to help pay for emergency care. For example, many dentists partner with CareCredit, a third-party financing organization that offers low and no-interest loans for dental care. CareCredit can help craft a custom monthly payment plan to fit into your budget. So, even if your insurance plan does not cover dental emergencies – or if you do not have insurance – you can still get the urgent care you need without breaking the bank.

The Cost of Not Seeking Treatment

Finally, it’s important to consider the cost of NOT seeking treatment during a dental emergency. Unlike a common cold or minor cut, dental emergencies do not get better on their own. In fact, injuries or infections of the mouth are likely to get worse without professional care. More serious problems in the future will likely come with higher costs, so it makes financial sense to take action as soon as an emergency occurs.

While thinking about dental emergencies can be scary, planning for the unexpected is important. Do not hesitate to contact your insurance provider and ask for details about your emergency care benefits.