Teeth Whitening: FSA Eligibility
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is designed to remove stains and other imperfections from the surface of teeth. Each tooth is made up of the harder outer enamel layer which protects the tooth, and the inner layer called the dentin. Over time, food, beverages and other substances will form another layer on top of the enamel called a pellicle film, which is a buildup of foreign materials that can discolor the surface of teeth and lead to stains. Over time, this layer will penetrate deep down to the enamel where simple brushing and flossing won't be enough to remove stains (WebMD).
A tooth whitening treatment is designed to penetrate deep down to the enamel layer to break apart these staining compounds. Whitening treatments utilize bleaching chemicals that set off a chemical reaction in the enamel of a tooth that can break up the buildup of stains and gradually whiten these surfaces over time. The two most common treatments are:
- Teeth bleaching can be conducted in a dentist's office or with at-home treatments that rely on active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which can play a major role in removing both deep and surface stains. These can take a number of forms, including light-activated whitening treatments, customized mouthpieces/trays or over-the-counter treatments like trays, whitening strips and gels.
- Whitening Toothpaste are among the most common non-bleaching methods available to whiten teeth, as they use physical and chemical action to remove surface stains from teeth. While all toothpastes utilize abrasion to remove stains in some capacity, whitening toothpastes have additional chemicals to clean and polish the surfaces of teeth and remove discoloration over time.
Teeth whitening does not directly treat any specific medical issue and is considered a cosmetic procedure, therefore it is not eligible for reimbursement through traditional consumer spending accounts. Cosmetic procedures refer to any services that are designed to improve the patient's appearance and do not play a role in improving healthy bodily functions or preventing/treating a specific illness or disease.