Medicare has done so many wonderful things for older Americans since its inception in 1965. However, to date, traditional Medicare does not cover dental care. Traditional Medicare does not cover preventive dental services like exams, cleanings, and x-rays. Nor does it cover basic or major restorative services and items like fillings, extractions, root canals and dentures. When such dental work must be performed in a hospital setting due to the severity of the procedure or the patient’s underlying medical condition or clinical status, Medicare will cover the costs of hospitalization (including room and board, anesthesia, and x-rays), but not the procedure itself or fees for the dentist and other physicians.
As the debate rages over the concept of “Medicare for all” in the presidential debate, focus should include the concept of “Dental Coverage for All”. Without teeth, eating is not much fun.