Dental Implants Are “Cosmetic” After Head and Neck Cancer

Radiation Is A Gift...I had one molar pulled before starting radiation for stage IV oral cancer. Over the years, I’ve had two more molars extracted.  When I called my insurance company to find out if they will cover dental implants, they said they would only cover dentures. Why? ‘Implants are cosmetic.’

I didn’t occur to me to ask if they cover breast reconstruction after breast cancer (which most insurance companies cover). Wouldn’t that be considered cosmetic?

This article really got to me because it’s about a teenage boy who lost his teeth to radiation from thyroid cancer (where he was treated and why he lost teeth is another story), but most definitely, in his case, the insurance company said they won’t even cover dentures because that is considered ‘dental’ not ‘medical’.   How do insurance companies get away with that?!?!?!

I would tell this family, FIGHT for your rights. It is a medical condition when you cannot chew normally and nourish yourself properly. If you don’t ask for what you deserve now, then when more teeth fall out….since radiation is the gift that keeps on giving….you will automatically be covered.  I wish 16 yr old Alex Hunter from California the best of health!

When will the mouth be recognized as ‘medical’ instead of ‘dental’ when it comes to insurance?!?!?

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Comments 3

  1. I completely agree. I have always been very consistent with my dental care and check ups….I am now almost at my five year mark from thyroid cancer and the radioactive iodine treatment and have according to three different dentists have approximately $20,000 worth of work needing done. I am a single mom and there is no way I can do that.

    1. Post

      Brenda, send a personal letter to the insurance company, and follow up with phone calls. Keep fighting for your rights to insurance money. If the insurance company pays for a denture, then your bone will recede over time from lack of simulation. That is why implants are critical, especially if you are young!

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