Does Medicare Cover Dental Bridges?
Dental bridges are not covered by Original Medicare (Part A & B) unless it is deemed medically necessary. Other insurance options, such as Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and private dental insurance, may cover dental bridge procedures and while lowering your out-of-pocket costs.
Do Medicare Parts A & B Cover Dental Bridges?
For example, Part A, which covers inpatient hospital care, may cover a dental bridge procedure if you are hospitalized for a dental issue. Similarly, if a dental bridge procedure was deemed medically necessary in an outpatient setting, then Part B would provide coverage.
Since most dental bridge procedures are considered cosmetic, they are typically not covered under Original Medicare.
The cost for a dental bridge without insurance range between $500 to $5000 per unit, depending on the type of bridge you require.
- Traditional fixed crown and bridge
- $500 to $1500 per unit
- Bonded bridge
- $700 to $2300
- Implant supported bridge
- $5000 for a two-implant, three-unit bridge
The Medicare Part A deductible is $1,556 and Part B deductible is $233. Should Medicare cover your dental bridge procedure, know that you must meet your deductible before your coverage kicks in.
You can determine whether Medicare coverage will approve your dental bridge procedure by understanding the exceptions that deem it medically necessary.
Exceptions When Medicare Covers Dental Bridges
Original Medicare will only cover a dental bridge if it is required to perform another Medicare-covered service or if the dental procedure requires hospitalization.
For example, if you suffer a serious face injury and require facial reconstruction, a dental bridge will likely be covered by Original Medicare.
- Reconstruction of your jaw or face
- Preparation for radiation treatment
- Neoplastic diseases in your jaw
- Oral exams to prep for a kidney or heart valve replacement
If your current condition doesn’t fall under any of the exceptions listed, then you may find coverage under another plan.
Does Medicare Advantage Cover Dental Bridges?
Many Medicare Advantage plans cover dental bridges. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 94% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have access to dental coverage.
Most Medicare Advantage plans offer 100% coverage for preventive dental services such as teeth cleanings and oral exams. Extensive treatments, such as dental bridges, are usually 50% to 80% covered.
A traditional fixed crown and bridge normally costs around $500 without coverage — with Medicare Advantage, your cost could be reduced by half.
- Dental bridges and crowns
- Dental extractions
- Root canals
- Dental implants
- Dental exams
- Routine cleaning
Confirm that your Medicare Advantage plan covers dental bridges before undergoing a procedure to avoid unexpected costs. On the rare occasion a dental bridge is not covered, there are still alternative options to help reduce costs.
Other Options for Dental Bridge Coverage
Private dental insurance and most Medicaid plans offer dental coverage. Note that these insurance options are separate from Medicare, meaning you would have to manage multiple premiums and plans at once.
While private dental insurance plans cost between $20 to $60 a month, Medicaid dental coverage and costs are determined by state.
The Center for Health Care Strategies provides a chart with each state’s Medicaid coverage, costs and restrictions. Most states offer coverage for emergency dental procedures for adults, but less than half of states offer comprehensive dental care, which includes dental bridges.
As for private dental insurance, you will have monthly premiums and possibly deductibles and coinsurance costs as well. Since a dental bridge is not considered a preventive service, there is likely additional costs involved for this procedure.
If your state doesn’t offer Medicaid coverage for dental bridges or if private dental insurance is too costly for you, there are lower-cost options available.
How to Get a Dental Bridge Without Insurance
- Dental school
- A dental bridge procedure at a dental school typically costs 25% to 50% less than a traditional dentist office. The price will range depending on what type of bridge you choose, the type of materials used and how many units you need.
- Dental lifeline network
- If the dental lifeline network approves you for a dental bridge, your procedure could be free. However, there is an application and a waiting list to be approved. If you have Medicaid dental coverage, you must use Medicaid coverage before applying to the dental lifeline network.
- Community health clinic
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Resources lists community health clinics that offer reduced-cost, or even free, dental care. Coverage varies by procedure, so be sure to review pricing before selecting a clinic.
10 Cited Research Articles
- UnitedHealthcare Services. (2022, April 12). Dental Coverage with Medicare Advantage. Retrieved from https://www.aarpmedicareplans.com/shop/medicare-advantage-plans/ma-dental-benefits.html
- Dentaly. (2022, March 31). Dental Bridge Cost, Materials, Problems, Benefits, and Alternatives. Retrieved from https://www.dentaly.org/us/dental-bridge-information/
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2021, December 1). Medicare Dental Coverage. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coverage/MedicareDentalCoverage
- Freed, M. et al. (2021, July 28). Medicare and Dental Coverage: A Closer Look. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-and-dental-coverage-a-closer-look/
- Center for Health Care Strategies Inc. (2019, September). Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits Coverage by State. Retrieved from https://www.chcs.org/media/Medicaid-Adult-Dental-Benefits-Overview-Appendix_091519.pdf
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017, September 18). Where Can I Find Low-Cost Dental Care? Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/answers/health-insurance-reform/where-can-i-find-low-cost-dental-care/index.html
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Find A Health Center. Retrieved from https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/
- Dental Lifeline Network. (n.d.). DDS Application. Retrieved from https://dentallifeline.org/donated-dental-services-dds-application/
- Dental Lifeline Network. (n.d.). State Programs. Retrieved from https://dentallifeline.org/our-state-programs/
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Dental Services. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/dental-services