Part of enjoying a happy, healthy retirement means making sure you’re taking care of yourself by getting proper medical and dental care. Aging comes with associated dental conditions, which include periodontitis, dry mouth (xerostomia), and root and coronal caries. In addition, you might show increased sensitivity to drugs typically prescribed by dentists, including analgesics and local anesthetics.

If you’re 65 or older, you’ll likely qualify for Medicare, but some Medicare plans don’t include dental coverage. That means Medicare recipients need to supplement their health insurance with a dental care plan that covers both regular dental care as well as unplanned dental procedures. So, if any of the following apply to you, it’s time to consider supplemental dental coverage.

1. You Need Routine or Emergency Dental Care

Since routine dental care isn’t included in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medigap supplemental plans, you’ll need to consider supplemental dental coverage if you need routine dental care such as cleanings or fillings. While many seniors forgo dental care because of the cost, that’s actually not a wise thing to do because it can have serious long-term consequences. Poor dental hygiene can increase your risk of serious health problems, including stroke and heart attack, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Skipping dental care can also lead to painful or unplanned dental procedures, such as root canals, bridges, or crowns, which is why it’s probably wise to spring for supplemental dental coverage.

2. You Can’t Pay for Dental Care Out-of-Pocket

Paying for these services on your own can cost an arm and a leg. Root canals tend to run between $700 and $900, a crown could cost $1,000, and dentures are generally between $1,275 and $2,750 per upper or lower denture plate. And if you’re nearing retirement, it’s best that you save as much of your income as possible for other expenses, such as shelter, food, and transportation.

3. You Have Underlying Medical Conditions

If you don’t currently have dental coverage and you have underlying medical conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus, you should seriously consider it because of the above-mentioned risks. Dental coverage can help you better manage those conditions and ensure that your dental hygiene doesn’t further compromise your health.

How to Know the Best Plan to Add

When shopping for dental coverage, there are a variety of plans you can choose from that offer different services. For example, Part C of Medicare coverage already includes dental, but other plans might not. Learn more about supplemental dental coverage so you can decide what kind of plan is right for you. Anthem offers Medicare plans with dental coverage already built-in, but you can also get a separate supplemental dental plan through them.

Medicare dental plans might cover routine dental services, oral/maxillofacial surgery, restorative services, diagnostic services, and endodontic/periodontal/extractive and prosthodontics. With a supplemental dental plan, you’ll be able to pay for procedures like crowns, extractions, root canals, periodontal services, dentures, and bridges.

Having sufficient dental coverage is essential to your overall health. That’s why it’s important that you find the right supplemental dental coverage so that you can get the routine care you need to avoid paying for any expensive procedures. So figure out what kind of dental coverage you need and get your coverage as soon as possible.