Can Medicare Cover Dental Services?

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Medicare is composed of different parts, each offering specific coverage options. Parts A and B, collectively known as Original Medicare, form the foundation of the program.

Part A Coverage

Medicare Part A primarily covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and some home health services. Unfortunately, routine dental care and most dental procedures are not included in Part A coverage. However, there are exceptions when dental treatment is necessary as part of a covered hospital stay, such as oral examinations before certain surgeries.

Part B Coverage

Medicare Part B covers medically necessary services and preventive care. While Part B includes some limited dental coverage, it is mainly restricted to specific situations. For example, Part B may cover dental services required before kidney transplantation or heart valve replacement. Additionally, Part B might provide coverage for dental care related to treatment for certain medical conditions, such as oral cancer.

Medicare Advantage Plans: Potential Dental Coverage

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C, are offered by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans provide an alternative way to receive Medicare benefits and often include additional coverage beyond what Original Medicare offers. Dental coverage is one of the potential benefits that Medicare Advantage plans may include.

Dental Coverage in Medicare Advantage Plans

Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage for dental services. This coverage can vary significantly depending on the specific plan. It is crucial to carefully review the plan documents and consult with the insurance provider to understand the extent and limitations of the dental benefits.

Standalone Dental Insurance: Closing the Coverage Gap

Considering the limited dental coverage provided by Original Medicare and the variability of dental benefits in Medicare Advantage plans, many beneficiaries opt for standalone dental insurance to bridge the coverage gap.

Dental Insurance Options

Standalone dental insurance plans are available from various private insurance companies. These plans typically cover routine dental care, such as check-ups, cleanings, fillings, and X-rays. Some plans may also offer coverage for more extensive procedures, such as root canals, crowns, and dentures. However, it’s essential to review the specific coverage details, including waiting periods and deductibles, before selecting a plan.

Medicaid and Low-Income Subsidies

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals. While dental coverage under Medicaid varies by state, it often includes comprehensive dental services for eligible individuals.

Medicaid Expansion and Dental Coverage

Some states have chosen to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, leading to expanded dental benefits for low-income individuals. It is important to check the specific Medicaid guidelines in your state to determine if you qualify for dental coverage.


In summary, Medicare’s coverage for dental services is limited. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) generally does not cover routine dental care, while Medicare Advantage plans may offer dental benefits that vary by plan. Standalone dental insurance plans can help fill the coverage gap, providing more comprehensive dental coverage. For low-income individuals, Medicaid may offer extensive dental benefits in some states. It is essential to review the specific coverage details and consult with insurance providers or relevant authorities to understand the dental coverage options available to you.

Key Points:

  • Original Medicare (Parts A and B) typically does not cover routine dental care.
  • Medicare Advantage plans may offer dental coverage, but the extent and limitations vary by plan.
  • Standalone dental insurance can provide more comprehensive coverage for dental services.
  • Medicaid may offer extensive dental benefits for eligible low-income individuals.

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