I had a tooth pulled several years ago in another state and my new dentist here is suggesting that I get a dental implant for that spot in my mouth. He says my jaw may get deformed if I leave it too much longer. I would love to get the implant, but they are so expensive and my dentist doesn’t accept Medicaid for a dental implant. Is this just my dentist or are dental implants not covered by Medicaid in general?
Donna, Oklahoma City
Your dentist is right in suggesting that a dental implant is probably your best option for replacing a missing tooth and because your jaw bone may deteriorate without something in a tooth’s spot, it seems natural to assume Medicaid should cover it. Unfortunately, that is likely not the case, and it’s not just your dentist.
Medicaid’s coverage is for basic dental care, and according to Medicaid’s website, “States have flexibility to determine what dental benefits are provided to adult Medicaid enrollees. While most states provide at least emergency dental services for adults, less than half of the states currently provide comprehensive dental care. There are no minimum requirements for adult dental coverage.”
What is covered by Medicaid is determined by your state, but if Medicaid will cover a treatment, it is usually the least expensive solution to the problem. This is typical of many insurance plans. Because dental implants are not necessarily the cheapest way to replace a tooth, Medicaid may not cover it.
Implants may still be worth considering, even if you have to pay more out of pocket, because of the way they function and look like a real tooth in your mouth, but your dentist can give you other suggestions if you are concerned.
This post is sponsored by Angel Dental Care in Akron, Ohio.