Medicare is a program that offers medical coverage for those over 65. This can cover a number of medical expenses, including hospital bills, prescription medications, and more. But while Medicare is a useful and important tool for looking after your health as you age, it is far from comprehensive. Importantly: it doesn’t cover the cost of dental care.
While some people will tell you that dental care is covered by Medicare, the truth is that the majority of procedures, supplies, and services are not included in Medicare. This information comes direct from the official government Medicare website, so you shouldn’t trust sources that claim otherwise1.
There are some exceptions to this rule however. The only medical services that are covered by Medicare Part A insurance are those that are carried out in hospital. This can include the removal of very difficult teeth (usually after a failed attempt by a dentist), oral surgeries for tumors and other issues spotted by dentists, and others. You pay 100% for non-covered services, so you should be prepared to pay for these services if you need them.
It’s also true that in some cases, certain Medicare Advantage Plans can include routine dental services. That means you’ll be able to visit the dentist and have your teeth checked. This may also include certain procedures such as fillings and the removal of teeth, though you should read the fine print in your cover in order to ascertain this for certain.
Finally, there are some circumstances in which Medicare may cover certain expenses relating to the cost of dental implants, such as the use of hospital transportation.
If you want dental cover then, the best thing to do is to look into private insurance from a third party. Medigap policies are designed specifically to offer the cover that is missing from a regular Medicare policy, but keep in mind that these often do not include dental services either.
More expensive premium health insurance may include dental insurance, but the better option is usually to consider getting separate cover for your teeth.
Dental Procedures to Consider
All this means that if you want a dental procedure, you will need to get separate dental insurance to cover those costs. So why might you need to do this? What kinds of procedures would be offered by dental insurance? Here are some examples of situations where dental insurance may be useful.
Your Teeth are Discolored: Discolored teeth are another highly common complaint for people who want cosmetic dentistry, and this problem becomes more likely as you age. There are many ways to address this issue.
The most obvious way to make your teeth whiter is to have them cleaned professionally. Failing this, and if you need a more thorough job done, then you can have professional teeth whitening which will ‘paint’ your teeth with a coating that will make your teeth appear much cleaner and whiter. It’s also possible to have your teeth bleached which again can make them almost shine.
Finally, veneers can also be used to make your teeth white as well as a straighter. Because you are covering your teeth with ceramic, they will look however white that façade is. You choose the color of your veneers and that will be the whiteness of your new teeth (a word of caution: don’t go too white!) The same is also true of dental crowns, which will fit over the top of your old teeth and make them look whiter from every angle. An added bonus of dental crowns or veneers is that they also protect teeth from future problems by acting like a sheath.
You Have Fillings or Abscesses: Dentistry shouldn’t just address the issue of how your mouth looks when you’re smiling, but also how it looks when it’s opened. If you open your mouth to laugh or speak and you reveal flashes of black or silver – whether its abscesses or fillings – this can be quite unpleasant.
This is once again a more common issue for the older population, seeing as the technology used for fillings has come a long way.
There are a range of procedures to help this problem. For example, it is possible to get white fillings to replace your silver ones which will be matched to the color of your real teeth. This way, it won’t be obvious that you’ve had work done and your whole smile will be white. This can also help solve the problem of abscesses, and if you haven’t already had fillings (perhaps for fear of a metal mouth) then this is a good option to quickly make the inside of your mouth more attractive. Finally, dental crowns can be used to cap off the top of your teeth as well as the fronts and sides. In this sense dental crowns are much like veneers except in that they cover the teeth from every angle ensuring that they look great when you smile and when you open your mouth.
Your Teeth Are Broken: If your teeth are chipped or broken then this will cause the same unappealing look as either crooked or missing teeth. This can also present a health issue, as it might cause your teeth to scratch on the inside of your mouth and cause irritation.
Fortunately, many of the same techniques can be used to repair broken teeth. For instance, dental crowns can be used to completely cover a broken tooth, while veneers can be attached to the outside to cover up the chip from the front. It is also possible to have your teeth glued so that you have a fake replacement attached where you have tooth missing.
Your Jaw is Misaligned: Lastly, some people will find that their jaws look misaligned and they this way end up with an overbite or a protruding lower jaw. This can also mean that the teeth don’t fit together when they close their mouths thereby resulting in a smile that looks “gappy” or forced. Other related issues include snoring, difficulty eating, and TMJ. To solve this problem, you should get surgery for your jaw which can change the shape and position of it bringing either the top or bottom jaw forward or bringing it back.
There are many more dental procedures that can improve your health, your appearance, and your quality of life – and many of these are particularly useful as you get older. Seeing as these procedures aren’t covered by Medicare, it’s highly advisable you look into additional cover.