Dentist Breaks Down How Dental Insurance Works, Says It's "Just a Coupon"

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Dec. 27 2023, Published 1:11 p.m. ET

I've been surprised by my dentist appointments more often than I care to admit when it comes to my payments after insurance. Despite my efforts to find out which dentists are covered by my particular insurance plans and having few issues with showing them my information, I almost always get slapped in the face with a bill at the end of the most routine of routine check-ups and procedures. My first thought almost always goes to, "I thought my insurance covered that!"

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Shockingly, however, I may not be the only person out here who feels this way. In fact, a professional dentist on TikTok posted a video suggesting that dental insurance isn't all it's cracked up to be. Dr. Brady Smith (@Drbrady) even calls dental insurance a glorified coupon as opposed to a more traditional form of insurance. Here's what he has to say as a medical professional in this field.

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This dentist has some thoughts about how dental insurance works for his patients.

If you're one of Dr. Brady's 331,000+ followers on TikTok, then you'll know that he isn't afraid to dig into the nitty-gritty of the dental industry. These call-out posts can include anything from dramatic patients to debunking dentist rumors, and even some tea on dental insurance.

In a video posted on Nov. 22, 2023, Dr. Brady had some words to share about how dental insurance works. But if you're used to your own forms of health insurance covering certain aspects of treatments, you might be in for a rude awakening.

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"I'll tell you how dental insurance works. It's a coupon," Dr. Brady claims. "If you are [familiar with how coupons work], you're gonna do very well at understanding how dental insurance works."

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Now, we've all used coupons or discount codes before. You show it to a cashier (or type it in a designated box) and presto, the thing you're buying is now slightly cheaper. Well, according to Dr. Brady, the process behind dental insurance isn't far off from that.

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He breaks it down even more simply than that. He states, "For every procedure we do — [such as] a filling, a crown, a root canal, extraction — there's a percentage attached to that procedure by the insurance company. They say 'we're gonna cover [a percentage] of this.' So when you come in, you basically hand me a coupon for 80 percent off a root canal."

What's more, you may even still have to pay out of pocket for certain procedures if that procedure is not part of this purported "coupon system."

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This is far from Dr. Brady's first rodeo with spilling tea on the dental industry. In some of his previous viral videos, he even offered dental patients advice on how to check if your dentist is covered by your insurance.

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In a video from Nov. 9, he advised, "Don't ask your dental office if they take your insurance. It's a bad question. Ask your dental office [if they are] in network with [your] insurance."

This way, you can keep tabs on what you might have to pay on a given appointment.

So... does this mean we can get clip-out coupons for future cleanings?

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