Does Medicare Pay for Dentist Visits?

Find out which dental services are covered by Medicare. Get help with finding the right dental coverage that meets your needs and budget.

Medicare is designed to help seniors stay healthy, so it’s common for people to wonder whether their coverage includes dental services. After all, oral and physical health are closely related, and older adults are more susceptible to tooth and gum issues. As with many other Medicare-related questions, dental coverage depends on the plan you choose and whether a service is considered routine care or an oral treatment related to another medical condition or procedure.

Here’s a breakdown of what Original Medicare will and won’t cover for dental care and your alternative options for coverage. 

Does Original Medicare Cover Dental Services?

Generally, Original Medicare, which consists of Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance, does not cover dental services. Your routine dental visit, for example, will not be covered. Other services not covered by Original Medicare include:

  • Routine teeth cleanings
  • Routine exams
  • Fillings
  • Dentures
  • Most tooth extractions
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics
  • Wisdom tooth removal
  • Invisible aligners
  • Abscessed tooth treatment
  • Root canal treatment

Around 24 million Americans on Medicare currently do not have coverage for these dental services—that’s more than half of all Medicare beneficiaries. If you receive any of these dental services and only have Original Medicare coverage, you will be responsible for the full cost of care because these treatments are primarily related to the health of your teeth. 

What Dental Services Are Covered by Medicare?

There are some narrow exceptions to this general rule. Although Original Medicare doesn’t pay for care directly related to your dental health, it does cover some services that are related to your general health. 

Original Medicare covers dental treatments that beneficiaries need as part of other health services covered under Part A hospital benefits, including:

  • Teeth extractions before radiation for a jaw-related disease, such as oral cancer
  • Oral exams necessary for a kidney transplant
  • Dental X-rays before jaw surgery
  • Jaw reconstruction after an accident
  • Dental wiring or splints required after jaw surgery

If you need an oral treatment as part of a surgical procedure or disease management, check whether Original Medicare covers the specific services you need. 

Note that Medicare will only pay for these initial dental services if they are related to another underlying condition. Once that condition has been treated, Original Medicare does not cover follow-up dental care.  

What Options Do Medicare Recipients Have for Dental Coverage?

If you’re on Medicare and want coverage for routine dental services, you do have some options. 

Like Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) does not generally cover routine dental care. But some insurance companies that offer Medigap supplement plans will bundle that coverage with a dental plan or offer discounts on oral health services.

Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), on the other hand, may get you the routine dental care coverage you need via more flexible, affordable options, like included coverage, standalone plans, and group dental care for retirees.  Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to provide the same basic benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B, but many carriers go above and beyond to entice enrollees. Your Medicare Advantage plan may include:

  • Routine dental exam overage
  • An allowance for dentures
  • Teeth cleanings
  • Coverage for fillings and extractions

Each plan is different, so be sure to check whether the Medicare Advantage plan you’re considering offers dental coverage. 

Get Help Finding the Right Dental Coverage

This chapter of your life will give you plenty to smile about—and access to affordable dental care will have you feeling confident about your oral health. We’re here to help you make sense of your options and find the plan that best meets your needs. Reach out to one of our local Medicare advisors through our no-cost, no-obligation service by calling (888) 443-5336 (TTY: 711) or scheduling online.

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