Good oral health involves the usual brushing and flossing, but it may also require corrective procedures in order to reduce the potential for structural problems. For some people, including those in Louisiana, structural concerns in the mouth are a matter of cosmetics, but for others, these issues can lead to problems chewing food, the development of pain and the worsening of tooth decay and gum disease. Ultimately, dental health concerns may go on to severely impact other parts of the body, including the heart, liver and lungs. While there are plenty of surgical procedures available to address structural dental problems, one of the most common first lines of defense is to fit a patient with braces.
In most cases, braces will be ordered for a dental patient who is still young and has a changing and developing bone structure. Addressing oral health concerns early provides a high likelihood of success as opposed to using braces to correct dental problems in adults. Unfortunately, braces are often expensive and may need to be adjusted over the course of months or even years. This makes it difficult for many low-income families to afford; however, Medicaid may pay for dental treatment with braces in Louisiana.
Does Louisiana Medicaid Cover Braces?
Medicaid services are regulated by the federal government, but it is implemented by state governments. This means that each state has a degree of freedom in choosing what medical services to cover for payment and how much to pay for each service. In Louisiana, residents are subject to specific Medicaid requirements for dental care, but at the end of the day, many dental procedures are covered if they are deemed to be medically necessary. As a result, it must usually be demonstrated that braces are required to either avoid a potentially serious medical condition or that they are needed to correct an ongoing medical condition in order to be covered by the program.
It’s important to point out that not all dental professionals participate in the Medicaid program, and because braces are considered to be an orthodontic procedure, a family or general dentist likely will not be able to fit a patient for braces. A general dentist may, however, be able to provide follow-up appointments to monitor the condition of teeth that have been fitted for braces.
Are Children Covered for Braces Under Louisiana Medicaid?
When it comes to Medicaid services and children who need braces in Louisiana, there is a much greater degree of flexibility in what is covered. By and large, children who are covered by Medicaid in Louisiana and beyond are able to gain access to medical and dental treatment options that are covered completely in order to alleviate the potential for developing future health concerns. This may come through mandates from the Children’s Health Insurance Program or through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Dental Program. Children who receive benefits from these programs will usually be able to receive braces as well as follow-up appointments for equipment adjustment and oral health monitoring.
Are All Types of Braces Covered by Medicaid in Louisiana?
Traditional braces involve metal wire to align or re-align teeth so that they grow in the proper direction and align properly in the mouth. Advanced braces may utilize non-metal materials and non-traditional techniques to direct the growth and direction of teeth. Different types of braces can provide results in differing amounts of time, and some types of advanced braces require a shorter duration of use. Although newer techniques and materials exist, Medicaid will likely only cover the minimum required in order to address the medical concern.
This means that Louisiana residents covered by Medicaid services and who are eligible to receive braces under the program will typically only be able to get traditional metal braces. Although every case is unique, medical aid programs are designed to save money while providing enough treatment options to alleviate medical and dental problems and protect overall health.