Does Medicaid Cover Teeth Whitening in Illinois?

Does Medicaid Cover Teeth Whitening in Illinois?

Teeth whitening is popular among many individuals who wish for a brighter smile. However, not everyone can afford the sometimes high cost of this cosmetic procedure out-of-pocket. If you’re a resident of Illinois and are covered by Medicaid, you might be wondering: Does Medicaid cover teeth whitening?

Dental Coverage Under Medicaid in Illinois

Medicaid is a state and federally-funded program that provides health insurance to eligible individuals and families. It is managed at the state level, which means that each state has some flexibility in determining what services are covered under their Medicaid program. Illinois has one of the best Medicaid coverage programs in the country. Illinois Medicaid coverage typically includes essential dental services, such as:

Preventive care

This may encompass routine check-ups, cleanings, and X-rays. Preventive care reduces your risk of developing serious dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.

Restorative services

These include procedures like fillings, root canals, and extractions.

Emergency care

Medicaid can cover treatment for dental emergencies.

Oral surgery

Certain oral surgeries may be covered, particularly when medically necessary.

Cosmetic Dentistry and Medicaid

While Medicaid in Illinois prioritizes essential dental services to maintain and restore oral health, it does not generally cover cosmetic dentistry procedures like teeth whitening. Medicaid programs across different states typically adhere to this same principle, prioritizing necessary and medically required dental services over cosmetic treatments. As such, if you’re seeking teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures, you may find that Medicaid will not cover the cost.

Alternative Options

If you are interested in teeth whitening but are not covered by Medicaid for this cosmetic procedure, don’t be discouraged. There are alternative options to explore.

Dental Insurance

Some dental insurance plans may offer coverage for cosmetic procedures, including teeth whitening, though it’s less common than other types of coverage. Check with your dental insurance provider to understand the specific provisions of your plan.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA)

If you have an FSA or HSA, you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for teeth whitening, potentially reducing your out-of-pocket expenses.

Dental Savings Plans

Dental savings plans are discount plans that provide reduced rates on various dental treatments, including teeth whitening. This kind of plan can help make cosmetic dentistry more affordable where dental insurance falls short.

Consult Your Dentist

If you are considering teeth whitening and have concerns about the cost, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist. They can provide you with information on the various teeth whitening options available, including the most appropriate treatments for your needs and budget. 

At Smile League Dental, we are proud to provide the best teeth-whitening services in Joliet. Our knowledgeable and experienced team is happy to give you guidance and recommendations to help you achieve whiter teeth within your budget and in the most effective and safe manner. We can help you figure out what procedures are included in your Medicaid coverage or assist you in navigating your dental insurance plan. Give us a call today at 815-782-6243.

What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Methods?

What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Methods?

Your best options for teeth whitening in Joliet are going to be unique to your situation. That said, we would recommend that you use professional whitening services. They’re the safest, most effective options.

If you need a Joliet dentist, consider Smile League Dental. We always welcome new patients, and we will work with you to set up an appointment that fits your needs.

DIY Methods

You would expect a dentist to recommend professional whitening — and we do. In this case, it’s more than just self-promotion. Professional services are safer and deliver better faster results.

Your dentist should also be able to provide a greater level of customization and control over the level of whiteness. Just let us know ahead of time, and we can prepare accordingly. It’s also usually possible to get a tooth whitening procedure finished in one day. 

Additionally, professional whitening and stain removal services often provide relatively permanent results, providing brighter smiles for up to three years. Finally, professional whitening typically does not use abrasive products — substances that can irritate sensitive teeth and potentially cause unnecessary wear.

Dentist-Recommended Products

When dentists recommend at-home whitening products, it’s usually to maintain brightness after professional whitening. For example, some dentists recommend whitening toothpaste or mouthwash. You might also get a touch-up kit to use after an appointment.

We would always recommend getting a professional opinion, even if you’re sure you want to go with a DIY approach. There are a lot of options out there, and your dentist can help you choose the most effective one for your specific goals. Make sure to discuss this with your dentist well ahead of time —many at-home techniques require multiple applications.

Professional Whitening Services

There are many different types of professional whitening. Here is an example of the process from start to finish:

  1. You come in for your appointment and get your teeth cleaned.
  2. After cleaning, the dentist protects your gums and lips.
  3. The whitening compound is applied carefully to your teeth and activated with UV lamps.
  4. The dentist rinses the whitening bleach off of your teeth, checks the brightness, and repeats the bleaching process until you get the result you want.
  5. You leave the office and avoid foods and, for the next day or so, avoid drinks that would stain your teeth.

The process does not take long at all. You should see results immediately, and they should last for a long time with minimal maintenance. 

Maintaining White Teeth

If you want bright white teeth for something like a wedding or a photo shoot, then you will want to maintain the time between your procedure and the event. This means avoiding foods and drinks that might stain your teeth, such as turmeric, coffee, tea, red wine, cola, or berries. 

Other than that, brushing and flossing regularly after meals should be all of the regular maintenance you need to enjoy a brighter smile. Of course, you should also come in for regular cleanings. Feel free to reach out and schedule an appointment with us today.