Yes, Your Mouth is a Part of Your Body

Your health insurance may cover treatments that your dental coverage won’t.

As simple as it sounds, a lot of people often forget that what happens in their mouth has a major impact on their body, and vice versa.  Children and adults who suffer from certain ailments and diseases such as, but certainly not limited to, diabetes, hypertension, gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, and many forms of cancer should really pay attention to their mouth. Since some health insurance will cover medically necessary treatment in the mouth that perhaps dental insurance won’t cover, it’s important to understand the connection.

Some dental offices are starting to offer a special and unique service of medical billing procedures that qualify as medically necessary to assist patients in maintaining their mouth as a part of their body.  This may also reduce out-of-pocket costs.  Here are four questions to consider and discuss with your dentist to see if this could work for you or someone you know:

  • Do you suffer from periodontal or gum disease and have diabetes, high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease? The link between these ailments is well-known and has been documented since the 1950s.
  • Has your dentist expressed concern that your teeth are being eroded by acid causing cavities, broken teeth or fillings, need for crowns, or extractions? Reflux or severe heartburn can cause major damage to teeth. If you have reported this to your primary care physician or if you see a gastroenterologist, your eligibility is almost certain if coverage is available.
  • Do you take two or three medicines for multiple illnesses and their combined effect is causing dry mouth? Cancer treatments for the head and neck can also cause low salivary flow and increase cavities and tooth breakdown.
  • When you extract a tooth you lose bone. If you need replacements such as implants or certain dentures due to bone health in the jaws, you could also qualify.

Not all dental offices offer to bill your medical insurance and even then, your upfront costs won’t change as no medical carrier shares how much they will pay on your behalf.  However, a lot of patients have been overjoyed to receive unexpected reimbursement for fees paid or a reduction in medical deductibles after all claims have been filed.  What an awesome surprise!  Make sure to see your dental professional for questions related to how illness and disease in the body can negatively impact your mouth and overall health.


Dr. Lowe is the owner of Awesome Smiles Dental Center located next to the Haymarket Kohl’s.  She and her team of professionals are dedicated to ensuring that everyone smiles with confidence and without shame.  Reach her at 571-261-2600 for questions or www.AwesomeSmilesVA.com.

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