Are cosmetic procedures worth the cost – and can they be covered?
In the last few decades, cosmetic surgery has become popular and then normalised, infiltrating every sector of the medical industry – equally so in dentistry. From veneers, braces and the more common trends to people going to the extreme, requesting to have their teeth restructured to match Meghan Markle’s. Cosmetic dentistry is on the rise and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, but is it worth it?
Teeth Whitening is a fairly common, yet pricey cosmetic procedure that could cost you up to R5000, depending on the bleach used. There are also take-home options that can be ordered through your dentist, if you want a more affordable option, but this is not advised.
There are also whitening products available over the counter like whitening toothpastes, rinses and white strips, but the jury is still out on their effectiveness.
Dental implants are titanium replacement tooth roots inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw and providing a foundation for a replacement tooth, explains Crest.com. This procedure can cost upwards of R10000 and up.
Composite bonding refers to the repair of decayed, damaged or discoloured teeth using material that resembles the colour of tooth enamel.
Colgate explains that your dentist drills out the tooth decay and applies the composite on to the tooth’s surface, then “sculpts” it into the right shape before curing it with a high-intensity light. Also referred to as simply “bonding” per the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, this effectively covers the damage to the tooth and gives the appearance of a healthy tooth in its place. Bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures available to patients with tooth decay, chipped or cracked teeth and worn-down edges.
Is it covered?
Dental insurance does not usually provide benefits for cosmetic treatment, although it is wise to check with your specific insurance provider like Affinity Dental as to what it considers ‘cosmetic and what is permitted under your policy.