Does Medicare Cover Dentures?

by David Bynon, last updated

Medicare doesn’t pay for dentures, implants, and other types of dental devices. Medicare Part A does pay for certain dental services received if you are hospitalized, but only if the services are medically necessary. You’ll need to buy a dental plan or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with dental coverage for your denture and routine dental care needs. You can find and compare stand-alone dental plans for seniors here.

Key Takeaways

  • Original Medicare does not cover dentures (false teeth) or dental implants.
  • Medicare does not cover routine dental or oral health services, including cleanings, root canals, tooth extractions, X-rays, fillings, and other restoration work.
  • For most Medicare beneficiaries, dental comes out-of-pocket, through a Medicare Advantage plan, or separate insurance.
  • For many seniors, the best solution is a Dental Savings Plan.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are removable dental devices that can replace your teeth. You can get a complete set of dentures if the majority or all of your teeth are gone, or you can get partial sets to replace one or a few missing teeth. Dentures help people with missing teeth to chew and speak more effectively. Most dentures are made to work with dental implants in your lower jaw so they stay in place more, “Dentures“, Accessed November 19, 2021

Why Doesn’t Medicare Pay for Dental?

The initial roadblock for years has been that clinical studies were unable to conclusively prove the link between oral health and overall health, so Medicare and Medicaid did not offer routine dental care coverage.

However, recent studies from organizations like the Kaiser Family Foundation have indicated that insufficient preventive dental care can lead to complications with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Insufficient dental exams can also cause delays in diagnosing these serious conditions and lead to increased emergency room visits over, “Medicare and Dental Coverage: A Closer Look“, Accessed November 19, 2021

This has caused the House Democrats and organizations like the National Dental Association to push for dental coverage for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. So while currently, Medicare will not cover dental services, such as dentures, you may be seeing this change within the next few, “Getting dental coverage added to Medicare faces pushback from some dentists“, Accessed November 19, 2021

Related: Dental Insurance for Seniors on Medicare

What’s the real issue?

Many seniors with Medicare benefits fall into a quandary. They enroll in Medicare (original or an Advantage plan) but fail to get dental coverage. Then, when they need dental work, they realize it’s too late because almost all dental insurance policies have a waiting period for restoration work and oral surgery. Plus, most policies have a ridiculously low lifetime and/or annual, “Dental, Vision, And Hearing Services: Access, Spending, And Coverage For Medicare Beneficiaries“, Accessed November 19, 2021

Are Medicare Advantage Plans with Dental Worth It?

A few local and national Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage as part of their plan. Aetna is a classic example. The healthcare network offers dental in employer group plans, and as a stand-alone offering, so bundling it with their premium Part C plans makes sense. However, savvy seniors should note that there are little or no savings compared with an Advantage plan without dental and individual dental, “How do Medicare Advantage Plans work?“, Accessed November 19, 2021

Call 1-855-728-0510 (TTY 711) for plan assistance.

If you qualify for Medicare and don't know where to start,, an independent HealthCompare insurance broker, has licensed insurance agents who can help you with your Medicare enrollment options, Mon-Fri, 8am-9pm , SAT 8am-8pm EST.

What’s the Solution?

If you find you’re looking at Medicare Advantage as an option, and you can find a plan provider with dental benefits at a good price, congratulations. The issue for most people is trying to match an HMO or PPO plan with the doctor(s) they like and the medications they use. It’s really difficult. So, really, dental is just a small bonus to everything else working out.

For a growing number of seniors, the best path is a dental discount plan, also known as a dental savings plan. It’s not insurance. It’s a per-negotiated discount in the range of 20-60 percent on just about every dental procedure you can imagine. The cost is very modest; around $120 to $150 per year for an individual or $170 to $200 for you and your spouse. Plus, there are no waits, no limits, and no claims forms to deal with, just easy peasy cost, “Discount Dental Programs“, Accessed November 17, 2021

Not convinced? Savings plans are offered by some of the largest names in healthcare, including CVS, Aetna, Cigna, Aon, and many more. See all of your options on our Dental Plans and Insurance for Seniors page.


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