The Truth About Medicare Part B’s Dental Coverage
Can Medicare Part B cover dental expenses? Yes and no. While Part B is an important part of your Medicare health insurance coverage, it may still leave you unprotected for services you still need.
Original Medicare has two Parts — A and B. While Part A covers your hospitals, Part B covers many outpatient medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, preventive services, and mental health services.
Those who qualify for Medicare can expect many of their health needs to be covered by Medicare, but not all of them.
Services that extend beyond hospital and doctor visits may not be covered, including dental. But there may be a way to get the Medicare Part B dental coverage needed under the right circumstances.
Does Medicare Part B Cover Any Dental Expenses?
Yes, but Medicare Part B only covers dental expenses that are a medically necessary part of another covered service. It does not cover routine dental services, such as cleanings, or other standard procedures like dentures, crowns, or fillings.
In fact, approximately 24 million Americans on Medicare do not have dental insurance that covers these services.1 These services would need to be covered through independent senior dental plans or through a Medicare Advantage plan that includes dental coverage.
What Dental Services Are Covered by Medicare Part B?
While there’s no coverage for the regular care, treatment, removal, or replacement of teeth, Medicare Part B dental coverage does cover dental services performed by a physician that are an integral part of another covered procedure. Examples include:
- Oral exams in anticipation of a kidney transplant.
- Extractions done in preparation for radiation treatments involving the jaw.
- Reconstruction of the jaw following an accident.
- Outpatient exams required before an oral surgery.
Because none of these cases are preventative or common dental treatments, it would be beneficial for Medicare beneficiaries to invest in a stand-alone dental plan to help subsidize the cost of receiving the regular dental services that are essential to maintaining oral health. Services such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates, and regular dentist visits are not covered by Medicare Part B or Part A.