Dental prosthetics not only provide cosmetic benefits, they can also prevent deterioration of the jawbone and bite. Depending on your needs, your oral healthcare provider may recommend false teeth as a way to regain or retain function. There may be different Medicare insurance options available to you to help manage the cost of this service.
Benefits of False Teeth
With tooth loss comes an increased risk of improperly chewing and swallowing your food. This can lead to indigestion or create a choking hazard. False teeth, or dentures, can help you break down each bite of food as you would normally be able to do with natural molars and incisors.
Your speech and pronunciation abilities can also be negatively impacted by a loss of teeth since the muscles of your mouth must compensate for the lack of surface area your tongue touches to create certain sounds. Dentures restore this surface area, although it can take time to retrain your speech patterns around the new space they create.
Personal aesthetics and self-esteem can also suffer due to tooth loss. Without teeth, the shape of the cheeks and mouth lack support and may look saggy or gaunt. Additionally, the shape of your jaw can change over time, sloping forward and creating a more pronounced under-bite. False teeth help your jaw’s alignment and restore the support your cheeks, mouth and lips need to appear full.
Different Types of False Teeth
Dental prosthetics can be made for a variety of circumstances involving tooth loss. Your oral healthcare provider may suggest any one of these types of false teeth depending on your needs:
- Removable partial dentures. A metal band links a series of false teeth together so that it can be clipped into place with a clasp on the existing teeth beside it.
- Fixed bridge. A crown on top of an existing tooth is used to anchor a false tooth beside it.
- Complete dentures. A full set of false teeth that fit on top of the gums and adhere through suction. Dental adhesives can be used to improve fit and prevent slippage.
- Implant-retained dentures. Titanium anchors are placed in the jaw bone so that the denture plate can be clipped into place for a more secure fit.
- Dental implants. These permanent prosthetics include a metal screw that is seated in the jaw bone and anchors a single tooth. This can be done to replace one, many or all teeth in the mouth.
Each set of false teeth requires specific care, and you may need follow-up appointments to help you with their fit and function. Tell your oral healthcare provider about any pain or discomfort you experience and follow their guidelines closely to avoid any complications with wearing your dental prosthesis.
Medicare Coverage for False Teeth
Original Medicare Part A and Part B does not provide routine dental care or coverage for false teeth. In certain circumstances, surgeries that involve extracting infected teeth or broken teeth may qualify for coverage under Medicare benefits through Part A’s hospital insurance. These situations are typically related to dental trauma due to injury or preventive care necessary for an organ transplant or other qualifying treatment.
Part C Medicare Advantage plans, which offer Original Medicare benefits through private insurers, often include routine dental care and related services such as extractions and dental prosthetics. These plans sometimes charge a separate premium that must be paid in addition to any applicable Part B or Part D premiums. Medicare Advantage plans may also have separate deductible, copayment and coinsurance requirements, as well as limits or caps for yearly coverage. You can check with each plan available in your area for more details on coverage for false teeth.