Don’t Forget Dental Deductions This Year!

Feb 02, 2016, by Dr. Becky Coats

Now that we’ve all gotten our flood of forms for tax season, it’s time to start considering filing our taxes. As you’re adding up your tax bill, don’t forget that dental expenses, like medical expenses, are tax deductible.

For people under age 65, the amount you can deduct has increased to up to 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), so this can result in a significant tax benefit.

What Is Deductible?

The IRS is very open to deducting dental expenses. In general, it lists payment of fees to dentists as being deductible, with the only caveat being that cosmetic dentistry is not, in general, covered.

Expenses that are explicitly listed in Publication 502 as being deductible include:

In general, any dental treatment that is designed to prevent or treat dental disease is deductible, such as gum disease treatment. This includes any amount you paid above and beyond what your insurance covered, and it can help defray the expense of picking a premium treatment (such as porcelain inlays or onlays) that are better but not fully covered by insurance.

And if you’re doing the itemized deductions, don’t forget incidental expenses such as travel to and from the dentist’s office. In most cases, dental insurance premiums are covered, too, although if you have a plan that pays your premiums with pre-tax dollars they may not be deductible.

What Is Not Deductible?

Cosmetic dentistry procedures are not considered deductible. The specific example used by the IRS is teeth whitening, but any procedure that is specifically cosmetic (such as porcelain veneers) is not deductible.

Also not deductible are home care expenses such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, and other cleaning tools like an irrigator.

What about Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an interesting case, and are likely deductible. Although most dental insurance considers dental implants a cosmetic procedure, the IRS likely considers them a medical procedure that is deductible. Consider the example used in Publication 502 to distinguish cosmetic surgery and medical treatment: breast reconstruction. The IRS considers breast reconstruction to be a deductible expense because it “corrects a deformity directly related to the disease.” In the same way, dental implants correct a deformity related directly to gum disease or decay (the likely reasons your teeth were lost).

However, it’s best to consult with a tax accountant before making this deduction, since it might be considered cosmetic.

If you are considering large dental treatments this year, remember that it’s deductible, which can make it more affordable. To consult with a Grapevine dentist about your potential treatment, please call (817) 481-6888 for an appointment at Grapevine Dental Care.