Everyone deserves a beautiful smile. So for people who have lost their natural teeth, whether because of an injury, decay or simply age, dentures are necessary to restore that bright smile and help folks regain their self-confidence.
But dentures go way beyond improving the way someone looks. Dental devices give people who have early tooth loss the ability to chew and eat comfortably again, as well as speak clearly. The fact is, healthy teeth are an important part of our overall health and happiness.
But does Medicare offer coverage for dentures?
Generally speaking, most dental care isn’t covered by Original Medicare. This includes dental devices like dentures, implants or partial plates. Medicare Part B (also known as Medical Insurance) may cover some limited dental services if they are associated with the treatment of a specific medical condition. But this coverage is usually limited to necessary services and doesn’t include the cost of dentures that are needed for routine dental purposes.
This is where Medicare Advantage can help. In addition to dentures, a Medicare Advantage plan can offer coverage for some of the most common dental services you may need to keep your teeth and gums healthy, including:
- Routine dental exams
- Teeth cleaning
- Annual X-rays
- Dental fillings
Remember, the dental benefits you get can be different based on the Medicare Advantage plan you have. You might have to pay some type of deductible or a copay for most of these services. And if you only have Original Medicare, you’ll have to pay for all of these dental services and appointments on your own.
Does Medicare Cover Any Dental Care?
Typically, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t cover routine dental care and most common procedures. But there are a few exceptions:
- Hospital dental services – Medicare Part A may cover some dental services when they’re performed in the hospital as part of an inpatient stay, such as a jaw reconstruction after an accident.
- Certain medical conditions – Limited dental services may also be covered under Medicare Part B when they are directly related to the treatment of a specific medical condition, for example a dental exam that’s required before kidney transplant surgery.
If you happen to be someone who needs a lot of dental work, you might want to think about a Medicare Advantage plan or look for a dental discount program that can help pay for some of your total costs.
Costs of Getting Dentures
Dentures do not come cheap! Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,600 to $3,000 for traditional upper or lower removable dentures. That cost can skyrocket for implant-supported dentures that are designed to fit into titanium posts and typically last longer than removable dentures. The following will also play a part in how much a set of dentures might set you back:
- Materials – The higher the quality of materials used in making the dentures, the higher the final cost will be.
- Provider – Different dental providers will quote different prices, whether they’re a general dentist or a doctor who specializes in dentures, like a prosthodontist.
- Additional procedures – Tooth extractions or other dental work that might be needed before getting fit for dentures can add to the overall cost of dentures.
- Adjustments – Over time, dentures may need adjustments and relining to maintain their proper fit and that will bring additional costs.
Alternatives to Using Original Medicare
If you’re worried about the cost of dental care, don’t be. There are ways to make it easier on your wallet. As mentioned before, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans include dental coverage along with other benefits. You can also pick a separate insurance plan that pays for regular dental care, dentures and dental implants. Just be sure to check the plan carefully to see if it has any waiting times or limits on what it covers.
You can consider joining a dental discount plan that gives you lower prices for different dental services. These plans aren't like insurance, but they can help you save money when you have to pay for dental care. Some states have financial assistance or programs to help people with limited money cover the cost of dentures. It's a good idea to look into these options and find out what resources are available in your area.
Taking care of your teeth is about more than just having a nice smile. Dentures are important for speaking clearly, eating well, staying healthy and feeling good about yourself. Finding help to pay for your dental needs is really something to smile about.
Medicare Denture Questions
Does Original Medicare cover dentures?
No, Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) doesn’t typically include coverage for dentures or other dental implants, such as partial plates.
What does Medicare not cover?
Medicare does not cover most routine dental care, including exams, teeth cleaning, fillings and extractions.
Does Medicare Part C cover snap-in dentures?
Medicare Part C, also called Medicare Advantage plans, can provide coverage for routine dental services, including dentures. It’s important to review your specific plan as the coverage may vary.
What are the best dentures for seniors?
The choice of dentures for seniors depends on many factors – oral health, bone structure, available budget and even simply personal preference. It's best to consult with a dentist who specializes in dentures and implants who can help you choose the type of dentures that best fit your specific needs.
Which Medicare Advantage Plan is right for you?
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Medicare.gov - Dental Services
KFF.org - Medicare and Dental Coverage: A Closer Look
Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services - Medicare Dental Services