Your oral health isn’t just important for maintaining your great smile; it’s also an essential element of maintaining your overall health. In your lifetime you may have a condition or other issue with your teeth or mouth and need to have surgery to correct it. When you need oral surgery, you may be wondering whether or not Medicare will cover the costs of the procedure. The answer depends on a few different factors.
Regular Dental Care vs. Oral Surgery
Before learning about how Medicare coverage relates to oral surgery, it’s important to understand some distinctions in the types of oral care you may need. Routine, or “regular” dental care means you visit the dentist periodically — maybe every six months or so — for cleanings and checkups. At these appointments, your dentist takes X-ray images of your mouth to look for cracks, cavities and other oral issues. They also do screenings for oral cancer. During a cleaning, your dentist removes plaque and tartar from your teeth and polishes them, too. Routine dental appointments help you stay on top of your oral health and can help your dentist catch any potential issues early on, when they’re easier to treat.
In contrast, oral surgery describes any surgical procedure you have done in or around your mouth to treat an injury or disorder. You may only need one operation, or you may need to have a series of several to correct the issue you’re experiencing. This form of treatment is expected to cure or help heal the injury or disorder and is not ongoing like routine dental care.
Common oral surgery procedures include wisdom tooth removal, gum grafts, root canals and insertion of tooth implants. However, some common procedures like fillings, which your dentist can complete, are not oral surgery. Oral surgery is often beyond the scope of a regular dentist’s skill set, and you may need to visit a periodontist or other professional who specializes in oral surgery.