Whether you’re 15, 35 or 65, it’s important to keep your teeth healthy. After all, your oral health plays a big role in your overall health. Yet, with so many factors to consider when buying a Medicare plan, it can be easy to forget about your teeth.

You have several options for how to get your dental coverage. You can either find a private Medicare plan that offers preventive or comprehensive dental coverage or buy a stand-alone dental plan.

Before I get into your options, let’s get clear on what Original Medicare covers – or in this case, doesn’t. Original Medicare (the coverage you get from the government) only covers dental care that’s needed to treat an illness or injury. Basically, something really bad has to happen to your teeth for Medicare to cover it.

For example, if you were in an accident and needed medically-necessary dental work, Original Medicare would likely cover it. That means the dental work you’re probably most interested in – regular checkups, cleanings, fillings and crowns – is not covered by Original Medicare. And while this may work for you now, you should consider potential future needs too.

Option 1: I want to get dental coverage through my private Medicare plan

Typical dental benefits included in private Medicare plans

Depending on which private Medicare plan you choose (Cost, Supplement/Medigap or Medicare Advantage), you’ll find one of three things:

  • Medicare Supplement/Medigap plans offer the same dental coverage as Original Medicare. If you want more coverage, you will need to look for a stand-alone dental plan.
  • Medicare Advantage and Cost plans also provide the same dental coverage as Original Medicare but some plans may include additional preventive or comprehensive coverage, so you won’t have to pay extra for it.
  • Medicare Advantage and Cost plans may offer optional comprehensive dental coverage that you can buy for an additional premium if you are looking for extra coverage.

Preventive and comprehensive coverage – what’s the difference?

When you’re looking at plans, it’s important to understand the differences between preventive and comprehensive coverage:

  • Preventive dental coverage usually includes oral exams, regular teeth cleaning, and routine X-rays. This type of coverage doesn’t include procedures like dentures, crowns or fillings.
  • Comprehensive dental coverage may include things like regular checkups, dentures, crowns and fillings, to name a few.

Be sure to check the dental benefits of the plans you compare. Live in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Find out about the supplemental dental coverage available with HealthPartners Medicare plans.

Option 2: I want to get dental coverage through a stand-alone dental plan

Depending on where you live, you may be able to buy a stand-alone dental insurance plan. If this is the path you choose, be sure to:

  • Check the plan’s network to make sure your dentist is covered.
  • Compare the level of coverage between plans – even plans offered by the same insurance company can vary.
  • Take a close look at the coverage details to see if there are waiting periods for the services you’re most interested in.

Live in Minnesota or Wisconsin? Find out about stand-alone HealthPartners senior dental plans.

Option 3: Get your dental coverage through your spouse’s dental plan

This may be a viable option if one spouse is still working and is covered by an employer group dental plan. It’s worth looking into as this tends to fall under the more uncommon coverage situations. However, if both spouses are on Medicare, you’ll have to get separate dental coverage.

If you’re unclear about which option is best for you, get connected to a Medicare expert, such as a broker or Medicare insurance sales rep. They’ll be able to walk you through your best plan for keeping your smile bright and beautiful.