November 18, 2018
Experts recommend that all adults get screened for oral cancer at least once a year. This simple procedure can aid in early detection and contributes to higher survival rates. Most dentists offer an oral cancer screening in San Antonio as part of a routine exam. However, as a budget-conscious individual, you may want to know if your dental insurance covers your annual screening. Let’s talk about this important subject.
No Charge for Basic Screenings
Most dental insurance policies cover preventive care, including routine cleanings and checkups, at 100 percent when you visit an in-network oral healthcare provider. As long as you keep up with your premiums, you can expect to pay nothing out of pocket when you visit your dentist for a regular exam. Often, a dentist in San Antonio automatically includes a basic oral cancer screening as part of a routine checkup. Therefore, it is likely that the service will cost you anything at all.
Charges for Enhanced Screenings
A basic oral cancer screening is a visual and tactile examination that relies on a dentist’s expertise. They simply use their eyes and hands to look for signs of the disease. The service costs them nothing but a few minutes of their time, which is why they do not often charge patients for it.
However, some dentists use advanced equipment to perform screenings. For example, VELscope technology uses a special light to illuminate the earliest signs of oral cancer. It can often detect abnormalities that a basic screening cannot. If your dentist uses VELscope or another advanced device to check for oral cancer, there may be a charge added to your bill.
Does Insurance Cover Enhanced Screenings?
Insurance companies have varying policies on whether they cover enhanced oral cancer screenings. However, most of them do include it under the umbrella of “preventive care.” Even if your dentist uses VELscope or another high-tech device to perform your screening, you may not have to pay anything. The best way to find out if your specific plan covers enhanced screening is to call your insurance company or take a close look at the details of your policy.
Even if your plan does not cover enhanced screenings, it would still be a wise idea to let your dentist perform one, especially if you have any of the major risk factors for oral cancer. The charge for the service is usually relatively small, and detecting the disease when it is in its earliest stages could have a significant impact on your long-term survival prospects.
Oral cancer screenings should be a regular part of your annual routine, whether or not your dental insurance covers them. To find out more about how much (if anything) you’ll have to pay for this service, contact your dentist or your insurance company.
About New Image Dentistry
Dr. Christopher J. Holland works alongside four other talented dentists to provide high-quality oral healthcare services to residents of San Antonio. Our practice is proud to use VELscope and other advanced technology to help our patients detect dental problems early on and receive prompt treatment. To schedule your next oral cancer screening or to learn more about our services, contact us at 210-804-1558.