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What You Need to Know About Medicare Dental Benefits

Modern dental practice. Dental chair and other accessories used by dentists.

Medicare Dental

Do you know how to get dental care through Medicare?

When you sign up for Medicare, it's important to be sure you know which benefits you can access, and how to add benefits like Medicare Dental to the package.

Taking care of your teeth is an important part of your overall health. Even if yours have never caused you problems before, you need to learn how to get Medicare Dental so you can prevent problems before they start.

In this guide, we'll show you why dental care is so important for your health. Then, we'll discuss the things you need to know about Medicare Dental. Read on to learn more!

Why is Dental Care Important?

The evidence is growing about the importance of dental health not just for your teeth, but for your entire body.

medicare dental benefits

Of course, having healthy teeth is important, too. They are a huge part of your appearance, and having visible problems with your teeth and gums can be a huge blow to your confidence. Oral health is also important so you can continue to eat well-rounded meals, and stay free from oral pain.

However, your teeth also have surprising effects on your health overall. Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why using your Medicare Dental plan is so important.

1. Good for the Heart

Gum inflammation has actually been linked to heart disease.

Studies have linked oral health issues to higher rates of heart disease, and although the reason for this isn't fully understood, the data is clear. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two major types of gum disease. Periodontitis in particular often appears alongside heart issues.

It's believed that these issues open ways for bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the mouth. When that bacteria gets to the heart, problems occur. It's possible that the bacteria help clog arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

2. Prevents Diabetes

There is also a surprising link between gum disease and diabetes. Advanced gum disease is thought to cause problems with blood glucose. Although people with diabetes are already known to have higher rates of gum disease, now, it seems the link works the other way too.

3. Catch Oral Cancer Faster

Your dental checkup involves looking for signs of serious issues by oral cancer. Cancer screening is an important part of a dentist's job. If you don't keep up with dental checkups, you could miss an important sign.

Precancerous cells can look and feel harmless to most people. You need a medical professional to examine your mouth regularly in case there's something there that could grow into a bigger problem.

Oral cancer can be very deadly if it's not caught early. Luckily, early detection saves lives.

What to Know About Medicare Dental

Now that you know why dental care is so important, let's take a look at how to get Medicare Dental so you can get the care you need.

1. Dental Coverage Through Medicare

Medicare Part A and B doesn't automatically cover dental most of the time, so don't assume the plan you have already includes dental.

Medicare Part B covers outpatient services, but dental care isn't included.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient and hospital services. If you're already in the hospital and need a medical procedure that also involves dental surgery, then the dental would be covered by Part A. However, this doesn't help with routine checkups and care.

In addition to routine checkups, regularly Medicare also doesn't cover other routine dental services like crowns, fillings, or dentures.

2. Medicare Dental Stand-Alone Plans

The fact that dental isn't covered by standard Medicare doesn't mean you can't have dental coverage at all. It's important to take the extra steps to get dental coverage through Medicare, so you can prevent problems before they start.

One option is to buy a stand-alone dental plan through Medicare. In most states, you can choose from a handful of companies that sell these dental plans for individuals on Medicare.

Most of these plans partially cover regular dental checkups, and also offer a percentage of the cost of bigger dental procedures. The premiums usually aren't very high: expect to pay around 20-40 dollars every month. It's a small price to pay for continued oral health.

3. Medicare Advantage Plans

Another option for getting dental through Medicare is to choose a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans are essentially privatized Medicare, so they take the place of your regular Medicare plan.

Some (but not all) Medicare Advantage plans also offer basic dental coverage.

Since these plans will replace your Medicare coverage, it's important to take a close look at exactly what the Advantage plans have to offer before you commit. There are different benefits and restrictions, and you may decide that the basic dental coverage that's offered isn't worth it. However, for some people, Medicare Advantage with dental is a great choice.

4. Cash Pay for Dental

A third option for getting dental coverage is to be a cash payer for dental work and checkups. This is the most common way to get dental treatment as a Medicare patient.

Paying cash for dental services can actually be quite inexpensive, and ensures you get the care you need without paying for anything you're not using. Just ask about cash payments at your dentist's office – they may have a discount for cash payers.

5. Dental Coverage Waiting Periods

One more thing to keep in mind when getting dental plans through Medicare is that they often have waiting periods.

These waiting periods mean that some services won't be covered for a certain period after the plan starts. Often, the waiting period can be as long as several months.

This means that it's important to purchase a dental plan through Medicare as early as possible, if that's how you plan to get dental coverage. If you decide to be a cash payer instead, make sure you set aside some money each month for dental services so that you'll be prepared to pay for the care you need.

Get Medicare Dental Coverage Now

Taking care of your oral health is an important part of taking care of your overall health.

Don't delay – make sure you get dental coverage as soon as possible.

Do you need to enroll in Medicare before you can take the next steps? Check out our handy guide to enrollment today.