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Dental Sedation and Your Insurance

Does going to the dentist office make you a little weak in the knees? Do you stay awake the night before worrying if the dental procedure you are going to have will hurt or go wrong?

Well, don’t worry.

At Whitewing Dental, our dentists know just how intimidating the dentist office can be for some patients. Rest assured, however, that there are plenty of ways that our McAllen and La Feria dentists can make sure you are completely comfortable.

One of the dental services we offer is dental sedation. With this service, we can utilize a number of different sedatives to help relieve anxiety, fear, or any other types of nervousness so that your dental procedures can be done without delay.

One concern we often hear is whether or not a patient’s insurance will cover the procedure. Let us provide you with a bit of information regarding sedation dentistry and your insurance.

Why use dental sedation?

Normally, dental sedation is offered as an option when it appears that the patient – whether an adult or child – is unusually anxious about the dental procedure that is about to take place. It may also be recommended for longer procedures that require the patient to remain perfectly still.

If oral surgery is required for any severe cases that need top-level dental treatment, Whitewing Dental is credentialed through Cornerstone Hospital to provide a deep level of sedation and/or general anesthesia. When needed, Whitewing Dental can obtain a licensed anesthesiologist for medical support.

An estimated 9-15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist out of fear #NoFear #WhitewingDental Click To Tweet

There a few different options available to help combat fears and anxieties at the dentist office including:

  • Oral sedation – Usually, this route of sedation is administered at home or in the office in its liquid form, midazolam. It should be taken 30 minutes prior to the treatment. It produces post-sedation amnesia, meaning the patient will not remember anything about the procedure.
  • Nitrous Oxide (a.k.a. laughing gas) – This form of gas is used to induce a state of calmness in the patient. They will still be awake but only slightly aware of what’s going on around them. It is administered through a mask about 10 to 15 minutes prior to the dental procedure and dissipates after about 30 minutes from when the gas was given.
  • Intravenous Sedation – An IV catheter is inserted into the patient’s arm or hand, and the medication goes straight into the bloodstream via the catheter. Intravenous sedation doesn’t put the patient fully to sleep but keeps them in a state that induces memory loss.

It isn’t unusual for your dentist to set up multiple sedation treatments to get the desired effect. Nitrous Oxide can induce a short-term calmness that relieves your patient’s stress—or fear of needles—and gives the dentist the opportunity to set up an IV for a procedure that will last a long time.

Is sedation dentistry covered by my insurance?

Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is going to be no. Insurance companies see sedation dentistry as a “luxury” treatment and as “non-essential”. The cost for sedation dentistry will vary depending on the level of sedation you or your child will be undergoing. Mild sedation is going to be relatively cheaper versus deeper “twilight” sedation.

If the procedure requires general anesthesia, however, your insurance may cover the costs as it is technically not considered to be sedation and is probably being used as a medical necessity for the procedure. While the two share similarities, general anesthesia puts a patient to sleep, while dental sedation does not.

Alongside the use of general anesthesia, your insurance company may be willing to cover sedation if it lowers the cost of the overall treatment. This works in instances where the patient’s anxiety requires that the treatment take place across multiple visits which can boost the overall cost.

Another scenario is when the patient has a serious medical condition or disability that requires sedation for them to receive the dental care they need. This can apply to individuals with cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, or another serious mental disability.

Should your insurer refuse to cover sedation dentistry, there are still a few options available to you:

  • Seek out a special policy that covers sedation dentistry services
  • Talk to your dentist about financing options and a payment plan
  • Use a third-party financing provider

How safe is dental sedation for children?

If administered by a dental or medical professional, dental sedation can be safe for most children, given that proper guidelines are adhered to. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) have a clinical report highlighting the updated guidelines that all dentists and oral surgeons must take to ensure the safety of your children during sedation or general anesthesia.

When it comes to sedation dentistry, you are in good hands at Whitewing Dental.

We are happy to provide true sedation dentistry services for families in the Rio Grande Valley. We have the experience you need to get your dental procedure done without any worry.

Take a deep breath, relax, and reach out to our offices in McAllen or La Feria by contacting us at (956) 686-5577 to schedule your check-up today.

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