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  • Writer's pictureGaby

Does Your Dental Insurance Have a Missing Tooth Clause?



A missing tooth clause is a provision in dental insurance policies that addresses coverage for teeth that were missing before the policy went into effect. This clause is designed to exclude coverage for dental work related to teeth that were already missing when the individual obtained the insurance.

Insurance policies often have waiting periods and exclusions for pre-existing conditions to prevent individuals from purchasing insurance only when they need specific, immediate treatments. In the context of dental insurance, the missing tooth clause serves a similar purpose by excluding coverage for teeth that were already missing when the policyholder enrolled in the plan.


Here are some key things to know about the missing tooth clause in dental insurance:

  • This clause states that insurance will not pay to replace teeth that were missing prior to obtaining coverage under that dental plan.

  • It applies to teeth lost due to decay, infection, injury, or congenital absence. If the tooth was already missing when you enrolled, insurance will not pay to replace it.

  • The clause is intended to prevent people from only signing up for dental coverage after they need expensive treatment, like implants or bridges.

  • It encourages people to enroll in dental plans before major dental work is needed. Most plans have open enrollment periods.

  • If you lost a tooth after your coverage start date, it can still be replaced per the plan's benefits for crowns, bridges, implants, etc.

  • Some plans may make an exception and cover 1-2 missing teeth from before you had coverage if you've been insured for a certain time period.

  • The clause does not apply to primary teeth lost in childhood. Insurance covers gaps in children's mouths per standard policy benefits.

  • It's a good idea to document when teeth were extracted/lost to prove the timing if challenged by insurance.

Make sure to carefully review the Missing Tooth Clause details in any dental insurance plan you are considering. Knowing the rules allows you to plan treatment accordingly.

It's important for individuals to carefully review the terms and conditions of their dental insurance policies, including any missing tooth clauses, to understand what is covered and what is excluded. If there are concerns or questions about coverage, it's advisable to contact the insurance provider directly for clarification. Additionally, individuals may want to consider supplemental dental insurance or alternative coverage options if they have specific dental needs not covered by their current plan.

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