The Veterans Affairs (VA) department provides a range of health services to eligible veterans, including dental care. However, the availability of dental implant funding through the VA is not universal and depends on several factors, including the veteran’s eligibility classification and the medical necessity of the procedure.
Eligibility Criteria for VA Dental Care
The VA provides dental care to veterans based on a specific set of eligibility criteria. These criteria are defined by statute and are provided in accordance with 38 U.S.C. §§1710(c) and 1712, and 38 CFR §§17.160 through 17.166. Once a veteran is determined to be eligible for dental care, the facility provides the veteran with an evaluation by a dentist who determines the scope of care.
The VA places veterans into different benefit classes, and each class is assigned specific benefits. For instance, veterans with a service-connected dental disability or condition for which they receive compensation may qualify for any needed dental care.
VA Dental Implant Coverage
The VA does not always cover dental implants. If a VA dentist determines that dental implants are necessary, veterans who are eligible for any of the VA’s dental services can get them for free. However, this facility does not extend to the maintenance of dental implants.
Medically necessary situations that warrant consideration for dental implants include severe bone loss in the jaw, inability to wear dentures, and significant difficulty eating or speaking.
Alternative Funding Options
For veterans who do not qualify for VA dental implant coverage, there are alternative funding options available. These include dental implant grants, discounts, and government funding for care.
Organizations such as DentaQuest and the Dental Lifeline Network offer grants and funding for community health centers and veteran dental services. However, the grants do not cover the cost of ‘basic dentistry’ that precedes cosmetic procedures, such as root canals, fillings, cleanings, or extractions.
Another option is the Cosmetic Dentistry Grants program, which provides financial assistance for approved dental treatment plans with affiliated dentists. However, the program does not provide free or fully paid dental procedures, and there are always out-of-pocket costs for patients selected to receive a grant.
Veterans can apply for VA health benefits, including dental care, by personally visiting a VA medical center, outpatient clinics, or regional offices with outpatient clinics. They can also apply through any veteran’s service organization representative or by mailing VA form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits, to the nearest VA health care facility.
In conclusion, while the VA does provide dental implant funding for some veterans, the coverage is not universal and depends on several factors. Veterans who do not qualify for VA dental implant coverage have alternative funding options available, including dental implant grants and discounts.