How to get better dental coverage after age 65

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is important – especially as you age. Make sure you find the best dental plan for your post-65 needs.

When I met my husband, the first thing that caught my eye was his smile. We’ve been married more than 30 years and I owe it all to those dazzling pearly whites. And you know what? He’s kept his smile looking great after all this time.

Whether you’re 15, 35 or 65, it’s important to keep your mouth 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 two options for how you get your dental coverage. You can either find a private health plan that offers 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 mouth 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, fillings, cleanings and dentures – is not covered by Original Medicare.

– To see a visual representation of the following content, check out the infographic at the bottom of this page –

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

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

  • The plan offers the same dental coverage as Original Medicare (with no option to buy additional dental coverage).
  • The plan offers optional comprehensive dental coverage that you can buy for an additional premium.
  • The plan offers additional comprehensive dental coverage that’s built right into the plan (meaning you won’t have to pay extra for it).

Comprehensive 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.

Option 2: I want to get my comprehensive 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.

If you’re unclear about which path may be 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 options for keeping your smile bright and beautiful.


If you’re retiring and your employer offers a group Medicare plan, check with your HR rep to see if your group plan includes dental coverage.

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