Asked and Answered: Can I use my funds for children's dental care? (Post-Halloween edition)

Halloween has been over for nearly a week, and there's a good chance your home is still loaded with candy (and empty candy wrappers). But the effects of candy on your children's teeth might linger a little longer without proper care. Whether you like or not, there's a good chance your child has consumed a lot of candy in the weeks surrounding Halloween.

Don't get us wrong - we love candy (one look around our office tells the story). And it's a big part of the holidays, kicked off by Halloween, but it can have negative effects on your child's dental health. According to a recent study published by BMC Public Health that reinforces what we always feared -- sugar has been shown to cause tooth decay.

But here's the deal: sugar is here to stay. Instead of panicking about the sugar your child has consumed, it might be the perfect time for a dental check up or other treatments.

And here's the good news—dental treatments for your child are likely FSA-eligible, which means you'll be able to save money on treatments. Here's what you need to know about post-Halloween dental care for your child.

FSA-eligible dental treatments

There are many dental treatments that are FSA-eligible and luckily, that means the same treatments are FSA-eligible for your children as well. In fact, depending on the scope of your dental insurance (and whether you even have coverage), some treatments that are FSA-eligible might not be covered under your dental plan.

This is great news for your wallet because it means you'll be able to save money on dental expenses, even if you don't have coverage for the treatments. Depending on your income and tax bracket, you could save up to 30% on eligible expenses.

However, there's one aspect of dental care that's not FSA-eligible: any treatment that's for purely cosmetic purposes, like teeth whitening.

Here is a list of dental treatments that you might want to consider for your children. Even though these treatments are FSA-eligible, it's always a good idea to confirm with your plan administrator that a treatment is covered before your appointment.

Teeth cleanings

Teeth cleanings are one of the most important dental treatments for your children, especially after Halloween. For children, teeth cleanings should occur twice per year, and the cost for cleanings can vary between $75 and $200. These include a few different procedures:

  1. Physical exam
  2. X-rays (typically only once per year)
  3. Removal of plaque and tartar
  4. Fluoride treatment
  5. Check for cavities

If you're concerned about your child's dental health, a regular check-up, or cleaning, is a great place to start. During the cleaning, the dentist will check for any potential dental problems and recommend further treatment as needed.

Fillings for cavities

After regular cleanings, cavities are one of the most common dental treatments. If the dentist finds a cavity in your child's mouth, then he or she will recommend that your child get a filling. Luckily, dental fillings are FSA-eligible. Even though the percentage of kids who have cavities is declining, it's always a good idea to have a dentist check for cavities during your child's regular cleanings.

Treatment for gingivitis, gum recession and other concerns

Treatments for diagnosed dental diseases are also FSA-eligible. Whether your child has gingivitis and gum recession or needs dental surgery or a root canal, you can use your FSA to pay for it.

Braces and orthodontics

Here's something to smile about—if your orthodontist recommends braces or other orthodontic treatment for your child, you can use your FSA to pay for it. As long as the treatment is for a specific health concern—like an overbite or underbite, which can lead to health problems down the road—it is FSA-eligible.

Bottom line

There's no need to panic if your child enjoys more candy than normal during Halloween. But watching your children wolf down six pieces of chocolate in under five minutes on Halloween night, might be the perfect reminder to schedule their next dental appointment. Just don't forget that your FSA can help keep costs at bay until next Halloween.

Oral care for "bigger kids" too!


From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, exclusively on the Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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