NASHP

State Medicaid Coverage of Dental Services for General Adult and Pregnant Populations

Updated October 7, 2021

Inability to access dental care can result in poor oral health. For pregnant womenoral health complications are associated with poor pregnancy outcomes like low birth weight and preterm birth. State Medicaid programs are required to cover dental services for children under 21, but services for adults, including pregnant women are optional. Currently, 36 states and Washington DC provide coverage beyond emergency dental services and 29 states and Washington DC provide extensive dental services for pregnant women. This map and chart highlight dental benefits for general adults and pregnant populations enrolled in Medicaid.  

Chart information sources include state Medicaid agency websites and documents and direct communication with state officials.


Definitions of Coverage

NASHP used the following coverage definitions adapted from the Center for Health Care Strategies and American Dental Association Health Policy Institute: 

  • None: No dental services covered. 
  • Emergency: Services provided for the relief of pain and infection under defined emergency situations. 
  • Limited: Fewer than 100 diagnostic, preventive, and minor restorative procedures recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA); per-person annual expenditure for care is $1,000 or less. 
  • Extensive:A comprehensive mix of services, including more than 100 diagnostic, preventive, and minor and major restorative procedures approved by the ADA; per-person annual expenditure cap is at least $1,000. 

Acknowledgement: This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U2MOA394670100, National Organizations of State and Local Officials. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the US government.

For more information or to provide an update, contact Allie Atkeson.

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