Dentures can offer a great opportunity to restore your smile, improve your bite alignment, and help you regain the ability to eat certain foods. Adults who receive health care through Medicaid services may be eligible for dental coverage in some states.

Common Types of Dentures

Dentures, which may also be called false teeth, are typically made from a composite material that can resist bacteria and breakage. The framework for dentures may be resin-based or a mixture of resin-based material with metal attachments. The teeth are usually a porcelain or ceramic that feels glass-like, which helps give an appearance that closely resembles natural tooth enamel.

  • Complete dentures. A complete set of upper and lower dentures replace all the teeth in a patient’s mouth. They may use implants that help them stay in place or a special adhesive that helps to keep them from shifting while in use. Dentures like this are typically removed every night for cleaning.
  • Partial dentures. A patient may only be missing a few teeth, so a partial denture can help prevent remaining teeth from shifting and keep their jaw in proper alignment. Depending on where in the mouth the partial will fit, it is typically made from a metal wire and resin plate that holds the false teeth in place.
  • Permanent dentures. Also known as implants, this style can replace teeth individually whether a patient needs a few or all of their teeth extracted. A proper fit does require the patient’s gum tissue and bone to be fully healed and strong enough to support the implants.

Preparing for Dentures

All types of dentures require careful measurement so that they fit to the form of your mouth. When evaluating your potential need for dentures, it’s important to consider how long the process may take from start to finish.

If you need multiple extractions, your oral specialist may make a mold while you still have your existing teeth before they begin the extraction process. This can help shorten the time you spend waiting for your dentures after you’re healed. Other oral specialists may prefer to wait until you have fully healed before trying to fit you for dentures, since the shape of your gums may change significantly.

Implants may require a longer waiting time than removable dentures because the gum tissue must recover and strengthen in order for the implants to work. You may need a set of removable dentures in between the time you have your extractions done and your first implant procedure.

Medicaid Coverage for Dentures

Medicaid services are determined by both federal and state regulations. Certain services are considered mandatory and every state must provide them to qualifying enrollees. Dental care for adults is not mandatory, so states provide dental services as an optional benefit.

Some states only provide emergency dental care services, such as extractions when an infection is present. Others may cover partial or complete dentures if it is determined a medical necessity for a patient. While each state may define “medically necessary” differently, it may mean that a patient must show a significant loss of teeth or bite alignment.

There may be additional limitations on the type of dentures that can be covered through Medicaid services, which means only dentures made of certain materials may be eligible for coverage. Your oral specialist can help you determine what options may be available for you so that you can verify coverage with your Medicaid provider.

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