Does Medicare Cover Tooth Implants?
The short answer to this question is that usually Medicare will NOT cover tooth implants. But there are some cases where it does. Let’s dig a little deeper on this.
Original Medicare is made up of two parts. Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medicare Part A is the hospital insurance portion of Original Medicare. Part B covers other medical expenses.
Neither Medicare Part A nor Part B generally do not pay for routine dental services. This includes routine care, oral exams, dental cleanings, tooth fillings, tooth extractions, dental plates, dentures, implants and other dental procedures.
Since it does not cover dental services, you will have to pay for the services yourself.
When Medicare Part A or B May Cover Tooth Implants
That said, there are situations where Original Medicare might cover dental services including tooth implants. This happens in situations where dental services are considered an essential part of a Medicare-covered procedure.
For instance, Medicare may cover a mandatory dental exam before a heart valve replacement surgery or a kidney transplant.
They may also consider if it is an event of an emergency or complication that justifies dental treatment, including dental implants.
An example of emergencies and complications are accidental damage to the beneficiary’s jaw that requires immediate surgery. Or it could also be the emergence of disease which could endanger or compromise the beneficiary’s gums or teeth.
So in cases like these, it is possible to get coverage for tooth implants through Medicare.
Medicare Advantage and Tooth Implants
It’s a bit more likely that Medicare will cover your dental implants and routine services if you are enrolled with Medicare Advantage coverage (also known as Medicare Part C). This is not guaranteed, however.
Medicare Advantage plans cover additional benefits such as routine vision and dental benefits, and, yes, possibly even tooth implants.
But it is important to understand that these additional benefits vary from one plan to another. So if you think you’ll need tooth implants in the future, it’s worth looking for a plan that is likely to cover them.
If you have private dental insurance, you can check and see if that will cover tooth implants. Even with plans from private insurance companies however, coverage of tooth implants tends to be fairly limited.
How Much Do Tooth Implants Cost?
Tooth implants can cost a lot. For full mouth implants, the costs can range from around $16,000 to $49,000. In some cases, the costs may soar as high as $100,000!!
If you’re looking at individual implants, the costs will generally be between $1,000 to $3,000 or more per tooth.
These costs depend on a number of different factors. They include:
- The type of tooth implant (there are a few different materials implants are made of)
- How involved the procedure is (where the tooth implant is located in your mouth, anesthesia, recovery and follow up visits)
- What kind of restoration or crown is used
- The abutment (this is the part that connects the crown to the implant embedded in your jaw bone)
- The dentist performing the implant surgery (how experienced they are, what kind of technology they use, if they’re part of a large chain or are in an independent office)
How To Pay For Implants If Insurance Doesn’t Cover The Costs
Because dentists understand implants are expensive, they offer different ways to help them be more affordable for patients.
Many will offer payment plans to divide the costs up over a period of months or years.
Others offer financing options either through their practice or a third party to help make the costs easier to pay.
Sometimes it’s worth finding a dental insurance plan or dental discount plan that can reduce the costs of implants.
More and more people travel abroad to get implants. Even with the travel costs, it may be cheaper than getting implants in the US.
And, lastly, be sure to shop around. Tooth implant prices can vary widely from dentist to dentist. By doing some comparison shopping, you could potentially save thousands of dollars.
So while Medicare likely will not cover the costs of tooth implants, there are other options that can make them easier to afford.
Note: Medicare changes all the time. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what is and isn’t covered by your plan.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Inogen Oxygen Concentrators?”