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Does medicaid cover root canal?

Medicaid coverage for dental procedures, including root canals, varies significantly from state to state. Here’s a detailed overview to help you understand if and when Medicaid might cover a root canal

General Medicaid Dental Coverage
  1. State-Specific Programs:

    • Medicaid is a federal and state program, meaning each state has its own rules and coverage guidelines. Dental benefits for adults are optional for states, while comprehensive dental services for children are mandatory under Medicaid.
  2. Coverage for Children:

    • Under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, Medicaid must cover necessary dental services for children under 21. This typically includes root canals if deemed medically necessary.
  3. Coverage for Adults:

    • Adult dental coverage under Medicaid is not mandated, and thus, varies by state. Some states offer comprehensive dental benefits that may include root canals, while others provide only emergency dental services or limited coverage.

Specifics on Root Canal Coverage
  1. Medically Necessary Procedures:

    • If a root canal is considered medically necessary, some states’ Medicaid programs may cover it. Medically necessary procedures are those required to prevent significant medical complications or to address acute pain and infection.
  2. Emergency Dental Services:

    • In states where Medicaid only covers emergency dental services for adults, a root canal might be covered if it’s needed to treat a severe infection or abscess, which could otherwise lead to more serious health issues.

How to Determine If Root Canals Are Covered
  1. Check State Medicaid Guidelines:

    • Review your state’s Medicaid program website or contact the state Medicaid office for detailed information about covered dental services.
  2. Consult with Your Dentist:

    • Your dentist can provide information on whether the procedure might be covered under Medicaid and can help with the necessary documentation to demonstrate medical necessity.
  3. Pre-Authorization:

    • Some states require pre-authorization for certain dental procedures. Ensure that your dentist submits a pre-authorization request to Medicaid if needed.

Examples of State-Specific Coverage
  1. California (Medi-Cal):

    • Medi-Cal covers a range of dental services, including root canals for both children and adults, under its dental program.
  2. New York:

    • New York’s Medicaid program offers comprehensive dental benefits, which generally include coverage for root canals when necessary.
  3. Texas:

    • Texas Medicaid provides limited adult dental services, primarily focusing on emergency and medically necessary procedures. Root canals may be covered if they meet these criteria.
  4. Florida:

    • Florida Medicaid covers dental services for children but offers limited adult dental benefits. Root canal treatment might be covered under specific emergency circumstances.

Steps to Take
  1. Verify Coverage:

    • Contact your state’s Medicaid office or visit their website to verify the specifics of dental coverage, including root canals.
  2. Discuss with Your Provider:

    • Talk to your dental provider about your Medicaid coverage. They can often help navigate the requirements and submit the necessary paperwork.
  3. Pre-Authorization Process:

    • If pre-authorization is needed, ensure that your dentist submits the request promptly and provides all required medical documentation.


Medicaid coverage for root canals depends on your state’s specific guidelines and whether the procedure is considered medically necessary. While children are generally covered under EPSDT benefits, adult coverage varies widely. It’s essential to check your state’s Medicaid program details and work with your dental provider to understand your coverage options fully. If you’re unsure, reaching out to your state’s Medicaid office or consulting with your dentist can provide clarity on whether your root canal can be covered under Medicaid. 

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