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Understanding Medicare Dental Coverage

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Summary: You might choose Medicare Advantage plans that offer extra benefits including dental, that Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover.

Dental problems can cause excruciating pain and interfere with your ability to eat. Yet with Original Medicare you won’t generally get coverage for routine dental services.

Some examples of typically uncovered dental procedures include fillings, cleanings, and dentures. If you seek these services and only have basic Medicare, you’ll generally need to pay for them out-of-pocket. Since Medicare supplement insurance plans generally only pay coinsurance, deductibles, and/or copays for things Original Medicare covers, they also don’t help pay for typical dental care.

What Medicare Dental Coverage is provided?

If you have a complex or emergency dental problem, Medicare Part A might cover your hospital bills if you need inpatient care. Examples of such dental problems:

  • You may need to have your jaw reconstructed because of an accident or illness.
  • Your doctors might require an oral exam before certain treatments or transplant procedures.

In short, you might have Original Medicare dental coverage if the dental services are part of a covered medical treatment, sometimes involving hospital stay.

If you have Medicare Supplement Insurance plans coverage, the same coverage limitations might apply.

Your Medicare Part D plan might cover certain prescriptions that your dentist gives you, such as antibiotics or pain relief medicine. Medicare Part D is not part of basic Medicare and you must enroll in separately.

How to expand your Medicare dental coverage

As a Medicare beneficiary, you may want to know how you can expand on your existing coverage to include Medicare dental coverage.

Many Medicare Advantage plans do offer some dental benefits for services that aren’t usually included in Medicare dental coverage. These plans may help pay for visits to your local dentist or at least, offer you a discounted network of dental providers. In many cases, they will combine some dental insurance with discount networks to help you save money.

Stand-alone Medicare dental coverage

You can also find companies that offer stand-alone dental insurance to Medicare beneficiaries, which is not Medicare dental coverage. However, you may find stand-alone dental insurance costing more than adding these dental plans to your insurance coverage.

Many health insurance companies offer dental insurance and dental discount plans. Typically, discount plans simply offer you access to a network of providers who have agreed to a fee schedule for plan members. As with Medicare Advantage plans, your dental plan may combine insurance and discounts.

Learn more about Medicare dental benefits

If you have concerns about Medicare dental coverage, you can find plans that will help you manage these costs. You might choose Medicare Advantage plans that offer extra benefits that include some help with routine dental, vision, hearing, and other medical services that Medicare generally doesn’t cover.

To look for a Medicare Advantage plan that covers dental benefits, enter your zip code on this page.

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