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When it comes to managing dental expenses, having the right tools can make a significant difference in your decisions. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are two tools that offer tax advantages that aid in covering out-of-pocket medical costs, including dental care.

FSA vs. HSA: Understanding the Basics

FSAs and HSAs are both tax-advantaged accounts designed to help individuals and families cover medical expenses. However, there are key differences between the two:

  • FSA: An FSA is typically offered by an employer and allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars from their paycheck to pay for qualified medical expenses. This goes into a fund that you can draw or get reimbursed However, unused funds usually don’t roll over to the next year.
  • HSA: An HSA is available to individuals with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Contributions to an HSA are tax-deductible, and the funds can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses, including dental care. Unlike FSAs, HSA funds roll over from year to year, providing an opportunity to accumulate savings for future healthcare needs.

What Dental Expenses Can You Use FSA and HSA Money For?

You can use either an FSA or HSA for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents, including children, siblings, and parents. Both FSAs and HSAs can be used to cover a wide range of dental expenses, including:

  • Routine dental exams and cleanings
  • X-rays
  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Braces and orthodontic treatment
  • Dentures
  • Gum disease treatment
  • Oral surgery

What Dental Expenses Can You Not Use FSA and HSA Money For?

While FSAs and HSAs are versatile in covering many dental expenses, there are limitations. Some items that you cannot purchase using these plans are:

  • Brushes
  • Denture adhesives or creams
  • Denture cleaners
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Nonprescription medicines
  • Picks
  • Teeth-whitening items or procedures
  • Toothpaste
  • Vitamins or herbal supplements

The IRS also prohibits expenses for general health or for cosmetic purposes.

FSAs and HSAs can be valuable tools for managing dental expenses and understanding their benefits and limitations can empower you to make informed decisions. Be sure to consult with your benefits administrator or healthcare provider to ensure compliance with specific plan rules and regulations.