Does Medicare cover dental care? Medicare currently does not cover medically necessary dental care or routine dental care. The Medicare Rights Center is encouraging people to tell their Congress member to urge CMS to allow this coverage.
Medically necessary dental care is care that is crucial to complete before getting important lifesaving treatments like chemo, radiation, transplants, and heart surgery. Currently Medicare will not cover this type of dental care, which can lead to complications and increase what Medicare has to pay in the long run.
The only dental care that Medicare covers falls under Medicare Part A. Medicare Part A covers emergency dental work done in a hospital setting.
The importance of dental health
Good dental health is key to overall physical health. Poor oral health can lead to a series of other health complications.
Gum disease (periodontal disease) can lead to:
- Increased diabetes risk
- Higher risk of heart attack and stroke
Other problems with teeth as you age can include:
- Greater risk of cavities
- Less sensitive nerves in teeth
- Difficulty chewing food
- Less saliva production
Action steps you can take
A survey by Marketing for Change found that 80% of respondents are in favor of Medicare including dental coverage. Do you wish Medicare would cover dental care? Here are some steps you can take.
The organization Oral Health America is currently running a campaign called Demand Medicare Dental, which has launched in Iowa, Michigan, and Tennessee. You can sign the petition at Demand Medicare Dental.
Tell your Congress members to support medically necessary dental care at The Action Network.
To learn more about how to get the dental coverage you need, see our article on Medicare and Dental Care.