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.

New Year Resolution and Teeth Whitening

New Year Resolution and Teeth Whitening

The long-awaited new year is here. As we are all look forward to a healthier 2021, maybe you are thinking of adding to your new year’s resolution list, healthier and whiter teeth?

Maybe you are a big coffee drinker, and, over time, your teeth have become stained. Perhaps, your new year resolution includes quitting smoking, and whitening your teeth as a fresh healthy start.

As you may know, there is something about whiter, healthy teeth and smile. The happier you are with your teeth, the more likely you are to show them off to other people, boosting your confidence.

If you have not, you certainly may want to include teeth whitening and healthier teeth to your new year’s resolution list.

As Part of Your New Year Resolution

Regular brushing and flossing are important fundamental ways to keep your teeth healthy and bright. And so is visiting your dentist every six (6) months. However, if you feel you want your teeth more shades lighter, then consider teeth whitening. Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. Teeth whitening can lighten the existing color of your teeth by several shades.

Part of Your New Year Resolution and Before You Venture Into Teeth Whitening, Remember This

It is important to see a dentist for an assessment of your teeth and oral health. If you have cavities, gum disease, or other abnormalities, you can make certain symptoms worse and negatively affect your oral health. A dentist will be able to help you make the right choice.

Factors That Can Change the Color of Your Teeth

Multiple factors cause teeth to become dull and lose their bright, white sparkle. Certain foods can stain your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth. Additionally, plaque buildup on your teeth can cause them to look yellow (you would need to first get a cleaning by a dentist). Tobacco use, aging, trauma, and certain medications (like tetracycline) can also change the color of your teeth. The success of teeth whitening will largely depend on the cause of discoloration. For example, grey colored teeth or tetracycline-stained teeth will require more bleaching efforts, compared to yellow-colored teeth.

Visiting the Dentist for an Evaluation and Treatment

Depending on what type of teeth whitening you want, you may need to make a visit to the dentist for an evaluation in this new year, to achieve your new year’s resolution list. For at-home teeth whitening, you would need an evaluation, and then a custom-made tray to help you hold the bleach in place. For in-office teeth whitening, you would need an evaluation, and then the actual bleaching appointment which is less than two (2) hours.

It is important to note that bleaching will not whiten porcelain crowns or composite tooth-colored restorations.

In-Office Teeth Whitening VS at Home Teeth Whitening

In-office-based teeth bleaching means bleaching done for you at a dentist’s office while at-home teeth whitening is bleaching you can do at home yourself, with the guide of a dentist.

Similarities: Both in-office and at-home teeth-whitening options use peroxide-based bleaching agents.

Major differences: In-office yields a dramatic result at a shorter time (since it contains a higher concentration of peroxide) compared to at-home teeth whitening which takes more time and several days.

Other differences: At-home teeth whitening systems contain from 3 to 20-percent peroxide (carbamide or hydrogen peroxides). In-office teeth whitening systems contain from 15 to 43-percent peroxide.  However, the higher the percentage of peroxide in the teeth whitening solution, the shorter it should be applied to the teeth.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

At your evaluation visit, your dentist will evaluate your oral health and medical history. Once it is determined you are a good candidate for at-home teeth whitening, the dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and instruct you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your mouthguard at home, consistently apply the gel for a specified period over 2 to 4 weeks (or as instructed by your dentist).

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening done by your dentist can get teeth brighter faster. The bleaching solution is usually much stronger than at-home kits. Also, heat, light, or a combination of the two may be used to speed and intensify the whitening process. This yields the most dramatic results, with teeth getting three to eight shades brighter. This procedure usually takes several minutes, about 30- to 60-minutes. Teeth whitening may not always be predictable, although certain factors help achieve more predictability. Amongst these factors is the use of Philips Zoom teeth whitening LED light to intensify teeth whitening done in the office and to shorten treatment time.

What is the Philips Zoom Teeth Whitening LED light?

Philips Zoom teeth whitening is a popular method of teeth whitening because it takes extraordinarily little time to work and is effective for most people. It can dramatically whiten your teeth up to 8 shades brighter! Since this technology is one of the best in the market for teeth whitening, we deem it important to offer this product to our dearly esteemed customers at Smile League Dental. You may want to review the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Philips Zoom teeth whitening. You should also review the instructions about the Philips Zoom teeth whitening, which will be given to you at your initial evaluation appointment with the dentist at Smile League Dental.

The Zoom Whitening Procedure

  • Your current teeth shade will be assessed, so you have a reference shade to the new shade, which will be achieved after the whitening.
  • Next, a protective cover is put over your lips and gums leaving only your teeth exposed.
  • Some gel is applied to the back surfaces of the teeth to be whitened.
  • Then the whitening gel is applied to your teeth and will remain for 15 minutes.
  • A special lamp is used in combination with the hydrogen peroxide Zoom whitening gel to remove stains from your teeth.
  • More gel is applied every 15 minutes.
  • The entire procedure takes about 45 minutes.
  • Once the whitening is complete, a different gel is applied to your teeth to lessen sensitivity.
  • Before you leave, you will receive a touch-up home kit and advice from your dentist about which foods you are able to eat and drink.
  • As a note, it is recommended that you get your teeth professionally cleaned before receiving Philips Zoom whitening. You will want your teeth to be as clean as possible before the actual treatment.