Does Medicare Cover Dental Care?

Original Medicare And Dental Coverage


Original Medicare Parts A and B do not cover dental care, except in certain circumstances. For example, if you’re in the hospital for dental surgery, Part A will cover your inpatient costs. For other dental care, such as teeth cleanings and root canals, you will pay 100% of the cost.


Fortunately, you have options when it comes to dental insurance. Private insurance companies like Anthem offer dental coverage included with Medicare Advantage plans or as separate packages. You can buy dental and vision packages to complement Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, or Part D (prescription drug) plans.

Dental Costs And Coverage Options


Dental care costs can add up quickly if you’re paying for everything out-of-pocket. The average cost* of a routine dental exam, teeth cleaning, and X-rays is about $295, depending on where you live. The average price of a root canal is approximately $1200. Plus, it’s common to need more complicated dental procedures, dentures, crowns, bridges, and implants, as you grow older. 


Also, keep in mind there is a difference between restorative dental services, such as dentures and crowns, and cosmetic dental work, such as teeth whitening. Most dental plans will not cover cosmetic services.


Dental Coverage With Medicare Advantage Plans


Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are bundled plans that usually include dental, vision, and hearing coverage, plus some other services that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. This can include fitness memberships, prescription drug coverage, and more. Medicare Advantage plans that include routine dental care will typically offer yearly or twice yearly teeth cleanings and dental exams. There are also options to increase dental coverage within those plans for an extra premium.


Dental Coverage With Medicare Supplement Plans


Medicare Supplement plans offer extra coverage for what Original Medicare does not cover, such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. Most Medicare Supplement plans do not include dental and vision care, so there are options to purchase separate coverage. Availability varies depending on where you live.


Anthem Extras is a separate dental and vision package you can purchase in addition to an Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement, or Part D plan. Our Standard Dental package covers teeth cleanings, dental exams, and X-rays. There are also Premium package options that partially cover more complicated procedures, such as fillings, implants, root canals, gum scaling, and crowns. Each package has a monthly premium.


Low-cost And Free Dental Coverage


Low-cost and free dental clinics offer complimentary or sliding-scale dental services. You can look for these services near you at Free Dental Care.


Dental Care Is Crucial For Older Adults


Whatever you do, it is important to prioritize dental care, at home and at the dentist. Taking care of your teeth as you grow older can prevent tooth loss, decay, and painful extractions and infections.


Regular dental exams can help dentists catch issues early, before they become more costly and painful to treat. After all, a filling is an easier procedure than a root canal. Additionally, regular teeth cleanings, along with daily flossing and brushing, can prevent plaque buildup from causing further issues.


Find dental coverage that fits your needs.

*Source: FAIRHealth January 2021 data.

Other Articles From "Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans Guide"

Original Medicare: Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance).


Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a Medicare Advantage plan with a Medicare contract. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a D-SNP plan with a Medicare contract and a contract with the state Medicaid program. Enrollment in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield depends on contract renewal.


For Medicare Supplement only: Not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.