We talk a lot on our pages about how Original Medicare covers hospital and doctor visits—but if that doctor is a dentist, you may be out of luck.

Medicare doesn't cover most dental care, dental procedures or supplies, like cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, dentures, dental plates or other dental devices. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will pay for certain dental services that you get when you're in a hospital. It may also pay for inpatient hospital care if you need to have emergency or complicated dental procedures, even though the dental care isn't covered.

And if you simply have a toothache that’s driving you crazy, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to see a dentist.

Options for dental coverage

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover. That may include coverage for preventive dental exams, cleanings, X-rays, fillings, anesthesia, dentures and crowns. These added benefits will vary by plan and most likely require deductibles and copays, so be sure to check out the details before you decide.

You can also purchase a dental-only insurance plan, opens new window. You'll have to pay a monthly premium and satisfy deductibles and copays, but the cost may be offset by lower out-of-pocket fees. Most of these dental plans require that you see an in-network dentist. Some plans let you go to any dentist (in or out of network), but you may have to pay more for their services.

A dental discount plan may be worth considering if you don’t have dental insurance. These discount plans aren’t dental insurance. They are a type of membership, similar to a warehouse club, but rather than getting bargains on food or clothing, you get discounted prices on dental services.

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