The cost of dental care can be overwhelming. A simple teeth cleaning can run you about 100 dollars. When we’re talking about more complex dental procedures, your bill can run to the tune of thousands of dollars. No wonder studies show that individuals with health insurance are spending a significant chunk of their income on dental work.
A flexible spending account (FSA) can help you to offset the high cost of dental care. The way it works is pretty simple: It allows you to set aside a certain amount of your pre-tax income into a “savings” account that you can withdraw from to pay for your medical expenses. As a result, you may get a discount as high as 30% when paying for your medical procedures.
However, FSAs do come with some restrictions that can be confusing to understand. We created this brief guide to give you a complete breakdown of how FSAs can help you cover dental work. Read on for everything you need to know about using your FSA for dental.
What Is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?
A flexible spending account (FSA) is a type of savings account that can be used to cover health care costs. Your employer usually establishes it at the company that you work for.
Because an FSA uses pre-tax income, it provides you—as the account holder—with some serious tax advantages. As most employees tend to do, you may contribute a regular portion of your income to the account. However, your employer can also add a certain amount to your FSA.
Unlike a regular savings account, you may not use funds from your FSA to pay for anything you want. The funds may only be withdrawn to pay for medical and dental expenses. In addition to that, these expenses must be necessary, leading to some confusion as to what exactly it can be used for.
In the following sections, we’ll cover how FSAs work and which medical and dental expenses they can cover.
How Do FSAs Work?
In most cases, you will automatically deposit a portion of your pre-tax income to your flexible saving account (FSA). This not only makes it easy to save for medical and dental expenses, but it can also lower your taxable income. As a result—depending on how much you contribute to your FSA—your annual tax rate may decrease substantially.
Of course, you can’t contribute unlimited amounts of money to your FSA. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limits the total annual amount to $2,850 (in 2022). If you are married, then your spouse can contribute to your account through their employer.
You can use the funds from your FSA to reimburse payments made for medical care. By definition, this includes anything that can be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent medical conditions that can affect any part of the body.
Aside from medical procedures, you can also use your FSA funds to pay for items such as diagnostic devices, medical equipment, prescription medication, and even over-the-counter drugs. FSA funds can also be used to reimburse insurance plan deductibles and copayments for medical services.
That said, expenses that are not “medically necessary”—such as certain cosmetic procedures—are typically not covered by FSAs. In addition, you cannot use your FSA funds to get reimbursement for items or services that enhance general wellness, such as gym memberships.
You can use your FSA funds to cover medical expenses for your spouse or your dependents—as long as they meet the above criteria for coverage.
Does FSA Cover Dental?
With all the stipulations laid out for FSA use, you may be wondering if it can be used to cover dental expenses. Unfortunately, FSAs do not cover all dental procedures.
While deductibles and copayments are covered in all cases, FSAs cover products and services depending on several factors.
The following dental services and products can be reimbursed with funds from your FSA:
- Diagnostic services: Any service that can be used to diagnose a dental condition—most notably dental X-rays—are medically necessary and covered by your FSA.
- Routine dental cleanings: A qualified dental professional should perform a dental cleaning twice a year. Even if you have dental cleanings done more than biannually, your FSA should cover it.
- Fillings: If you have a cavity, it must be filled in to prevent further tooth decay. As such, it is a medically necessary procedure that’s covered by your FSA.
- Tooth extraction: A severely infected tooth may need to be extracted to avoid further complications. You may also choose to extract your (non-infected) wisdom teeth for preventative purposes.
- Crowns: If you had a root canal procedure, your tooth will have a “hole” in it, which must be covered with a porcelain or metal cap—also known as a crown.
- Bonding: Dental bonding is a procedure used to repair a cracked, chipped, or otherwise broken tooth. It uses an adhesive material that “bonds” to the outside of your teeth to improve their function and appearance.
- Dentures: Dentures are a removable frame of teeth used for patients who are missing teeth. Dentures to restore the proper dental function are covered by your FSA.
- Gum disease treatment: Gum disease is a serious bacterial infection that can progress to other areas of your body. As such, any treatment that can prevent or treat gum disease is medically necessary and covered by your FSA.
- Teeth-grinding prevention devices: Grinding your teeth can wear away the protective enamel of your teeth, which can increase your chances of tooth decay. For this reason, devices that prevent teeth grinding—such as occlusal guards—are covered by your FSA.
- Over-the-counter dental products: Whether it is a medicine or another medically-necessary dental product, you can use funds from your FSA to get reimbursed for it.
What Is Not Covered by FSA?
Although your FSA covers various dental services and products, it cannot be used for reimbursement of cosmetic procedures. This includes teeth whitening, veneers, and cosmetic orthodontics. If you want to get a cosmetic procedure done, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for it.
Of course, the dividing line between a medically necessary and cosmetic procedure is quite thin. While some procedures—such as teeth whitening—are cosmetic, the case with others is not quite as clear.
In some cases, cosmetic procedures may be covered by your FSA. This is usually the case with dental procedures that enhance the appearance of your teeth while simultaneously improving their function.
For instance, if you chip your teeth, veneers might be necessary for you to resume normal functioning. As such, they may be covered by your FSA.
Discussing your options with your dentist can help you determine whether your FSA will cover your desired procedure.
Saving on Dental Work With Flossy
Fortunately, many dental procedures can be reimbursed with funds from your FSA. However, what do you do if you want a cosmetic procedure that isn’t medically necessary? Considering the high cost of teeth whitening, cosmetic veneers, and teeth shaping, it might seem like a beautiful smile is out of your reach.
However, there is a way to get inexpensive dental cosmetic procedures done at a fraction of the cost of most dentists. If you live near Phoenix or Glendale in Arizona, then you can use Flossy’s services to find cosmetic dental work at a discount.
Flossy.com is a website and a smartphone app that allows you to find quality cosmetic dental work near you—at up to a 50% discount. Unlike FSAs, there are no restrictions on which procedures you can get done.
Not only will you save some serious money by booking through Flossy.com, but you’ll receive only the highest-quality dental work. Our network of dental professionals has been rigorously vetted using client reviews. As such, you’ll get only the best dental care.
To book your first appointment, follow the following steps:
- Go to Flossy.com (or download our smartphone app).
- Click on “Find Dentist Near You.”
- Pick your desired dentist.
- Pick a date and time that works best for you.
- Enter your credit card details ( save this to make booking easier in the future).
- Show up to your appointment—your dentist will take care of the rest.
With the high cost of dental work, using your flexible saving account (FSA) can seriously help you with paying for common dental procedures.
However, if you want a cosmetic procedure to enhance the appearance of your smile, then you may run into some trouble using your FSA funds.
As an alternative, Flossy can connect you to the highest-quality dentists—at up to a 50% discount—to give you a smile you want and deserve.