It also doesn’t cover most dental procedures, such as extractions and root canals. The cost of dentures varies widely based on the material, type of dentures, where you need them and where you live.
Expect to pay $1,600 to $3,000 for either lower removable or upper removable dentures, the traditional false teeth that rest on top of the gums and are held in place with adhesive, according to Delta Dental’s cost estimator.
The price increases significantly and can be tens of thousands of dollars for more extensive procedures, such as implant-supported dentures. These dentures fit into tiny titanium posts inserted into your jawbone, preventing slippage and some of the bone loss associated with long-term denture use. They last longer than traditional dentures.
You’ll probably face additional fees for teeth extraction, at least for your first set of dentures.
Medicare doesn’t cover dentures, even though nearly 1 in 8 U.S. adults 65 and older report having no remaining teeth, according to a 2020 study from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why? Congressional lawmakers didn’t include it in the original Medicare and Medicaid Act of 1965 and have not expanded coverage for it since.
Yet even though Medicare passes on covering almost all things dental, you may be able to get some form of coverage for dentures or at least discounted rates from other sources.
The good news is, yes. Most Medicare Advantage plans provide dental coverage. Some pay only for routine dental care while others allow for more extensive dental services, including the potential for dentures.
In 2021, 76 percent of people in Medicare Advantage plans that covered extensive dental services had coverage for periodontics or prosthodontics, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Periodontics is the prevention and treatment of gum and tooth diseases. Prosthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in making replacements for missing or damaged teeth, and that may include dentures, dental bridges, implants and other false teeth.
Typically, plans that cover dentures generally limit coverage to one set every five years. But cost sharing, meaning what you pay out of pocket and what insurance covers, varies widely. In 2021, plans that charged a fixed-dollar copayment ranged from $0 to $500, while plans that charged coinsurance, which is a percentage of the cost, typically charged members 50 percent to 70 percent of the cost for in-network providers.
Most plans put annual caps on extensive dental services, averaging $1,300 in 2021, but 8 percent of the plans had a coverage cap of $2,000 to $5,000. This cap usually didn’t apply to routine and preventive dental care.
Many Medicare Advantage plans include dental coverage automatically. But some plans charge extra for additional dental benefits, for example, $40 a month for $2,000 worth of extra dental benefits, including dentures.
With such a wide range of coverage levels, it’s important to research how each plan covers dentures.
You can find information about dental coverage for each Medicare Advantage plan in your area by using the Medicare Plan Finder. Key in your zip code. In the Plan Type drop-down menu, click ◯ Medicare Advantage Plan | Apply.
You then may be asked to choose your county if your zip code spans more than one. When you click Start, you’ll first have to note if you receive financial aid, then you’ll see an option to compare drug costs among plans. This doesn’t include dental costs.
From there, you can link to a list of all Medicare Advantage plans in your area. A green check mark notes ✓ Dental in the Plan Benefits list. You can narrow the list by clicking on Filter by: Plan Benefits | ☐ Dental coverage | Apply.
For general information about the plan’s denture coverage, click Plan Details and scroll down to Extra Benefits. Look for the Prosthodontics section to find out whether the plan covers dentures and other dental prosthetics, including its in-network and out-of-network copays. You’ll see a note if you need prior approval and are subject to plan limits.
Note that the Plan Finder doesn’t include details about those limits or which types of prosthodontics are covered. For more information about your plan’s denture coverage, visit the plan’s website or contact the plan directly. You can find a link to plan websites in the Plan Finder and review plan documents directly on the site.
Other sources can help defray the costs of dentures:
You can withdraw money tax-free from a health savings account (HSA) to pay most out-of-pocket dental expenses. You can’t contribute to an HSA after you enroll in Medicare, but you can use money you’ve already saved in the account for eligible medical expenses at any age, including dentures and many dental expenses that insurance doesn’t cover.
Updated October 13, 2022
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