Key Takeaways

  • Medicare does not pay for routine dental cleanings, fillings, and dentures.

  • Medicare only covers dental-related treatment related to medical emergencies (e.g., tooth extraction prior to heart surgery).

  • Several charitable organizations and dental societies may be able to help you pay for routine dental care.

Medicare pays for a wide range of services, including many preventive benefits, however, coverage of dental care is very limited. 

Does Medicare pay for dentures, fillings, and routine teeth cleaning?

Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover routine oral health/dental care, such as teeth cleaning, fillings, dentures, root canals, etc. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, check to see if your plan covers these services.

When does Medicare cover dental treatment?

Original Medicare may pay for dental services that are medically necessary prior to another Medicare-covered medical procedure. For example, Medicare might pay for a tooth extraction if it is required before heart surgery. Or, a person with oral cancer might get a procedure covered prior to radiation treatment. Even if Medicare does pay for some services as preparation for a medical procedure, it will not cover the cost of implants or dentures.

Where can I get help paying for dental work?

  • The Dental Lifeline Network of the American Dental Association runs a program offering free, comprehensive dental treatment to vulnerable people, including the elderly and those living with disabilities.
  • Community Health Centers (CHCs) supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration provide health services, including dental care, to those with limited incomes, usually on a sliding scale payment.
  • Dental schools often offer low-cost cleaning and care to enable dentists-in-training an opportunity to practice their skills. Check with the American Dental Association to find a program in your area.
  • Dentistry from the Heart hosts community events with local dentists who offer one free cleaning, extraction, or filling.