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Why Is Arestin Not Covered By Insurance

Why Is Arestin Not Covered By Insurance

When it comes to dental treatments, insurance coverage plays a significant role in determining the affordability and accessibility of various procedures. However, there are certain treatments, such as Arestin, that are not covered by insurance. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this lack of coverage and shed light on the implications for patients.

What is Arestin?

Arestin is an antibiotic treatment used in periodontal therapy. It is a locally administered medication that is placed directly into the infected periodontal pockets after scaling and root planing procedures. The active ingredient in Arestin is minocycline, which helps to eliminate bacteria and reduce inflammation in the gums.

The Importance of Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common oral health condition that affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications. Periodontal therapy, including treatments like Arestin, is crucial in managing and preventing the progression of this disease.

Why is Arestin Not Covered by Insurance?

1. Limited FDA Approval: Arestin received FDA approval in 2001 for use in periodontal therapy. However, insurance companies often have strict criteria for coverage, and they may require extensive evidence of effectiveness and safety before including a treatment in their coverage plans. The limited FDA approval may be a reason why insurance companies hesitate to cover Arestin.

2. Cost Considerations: Insurance companies carefully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of treatments before deciding whether to cover them. Arestin is a relatively expensive treatment compared to traditional periodontal therapies. The cost of the medication, as well as the additional time and resources required for its administration, may make insurance companies reluctant to cover it.

3. Lack of Long-Term Evidence: While Arestin has shown promising results in short-term studies, there is a lack of long-term evidence regarding its effectiveness. Insurance companies typically prefer treatments with a strong evidence base, including long-term studies that demonstrate their efficacy and durability. The limited long-term data on Arestin may contribute to its exclusion from insurance coverage.

4. Alternative Treatment Options: Insurance companies often prefer to cover treatments that have multiple alternatives available. In the case of periodontal therapy, there are various other treatment options, such as scaling and root planing, systemic antibiotics, and laser therapy. Insurance companies may choose to cover these alternatives instead of Arestin due to their lower cost or more extensive research backing.

The Implications for Patients

The lack of insurance coverage for Arestin can have significant implications for patients. Some of the key implications include:

  • Financial Burden: Patients may have to bear the full cost of Arestin treatment out of pocket, which can be a significant financial burden, especially for those without dental insurance.
  • Limited Access: The lack of insurance coverage may limit the accessibility of Arestin for patients who cannot afford the treatment. This can result in compromised oral health outcomes and potential progression of periodontal disease.
  • Unequal Treatment: Patients with insurance coverage may have access to alternative treatments that are covered by their insurance, while those without coverage may be limited to Arestin or face higher out-of-pocket costs for alternative treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Is Arestin an effective treatment for periodontal disease?

Arestin has shown effectiveness in reducing pocket depth and improving clinical outcomes in short-term studies. However, long-term evidence is limited, and its efficacy may vary depending on individual patient factors.

2. How much does Arestin treatment cost?

The cost of Arestin treatment can vary depending on the dental provider and the number of sites requiring treatment. On average, it can range from $50 to $100 per site.

3. Are there any alternative treatments covered by insurance?

Yes, insurance companies often cover alternative treatments for periodontal disease, such as scaling and root planing, systemic antibiotics, and laser therapy. These treatments may be more cost-effective or have a stronger evidence base.

4. Can I appeal to my insurance company to cover Arestin?

It is possible to appeal to your insurance company to cover Arestin, especially if you have a specific medical need or if alternative treatments have been ineffective. However, success in appealing coverage decisions can vary.

5. Are there any financial assistance programs available for Arestin?

Some dental providers may offer financing options or payment plans to help patients manage the cost of Arestin treatment. Additionally, there may be dental assistance programs or grants available for individuals with financial constraints.

6. Should I consider Arestin even if it is not covered by insurance?

It is important to consult with your dentist or periodontist to determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific condition. While Arestin may be an effective option for some patients, there may be alternative treatments that are covered by insurance and can achieve similar outcomes.


Arestin, a locally administered antibiotic treatment for periodontal disease, is not covered by insurance for several reasons. These include limited FDA approval, cost considerations, lack of long-term evidence, and the availability of alternative treatments. The lack of insurance coverage for Arestin can result in financial burden, limited access, and unequal treatment for patients. It is important for patients to discuss their options with their dental providers and explore alternative treatments that may be covered by insurance.