You asked us: What’s up with VA’s dental service?

Arguably the hardest coverage to get

Jonathan Kaupanger
January 25, 2018 - 3:00 pm

© Sipa USA


Someone had a question about VA’s dental service on our YouTube Page recently.  Specifically, they wanted to know why one VAMC had dental service available for peacetime vets, but another one didn’t?  The answer isn’t simple and without knowing specifics, it's impossible to really know.

There are a couple dental options for veterans, but the best place to start is to understand what exactly veteran teeth are entitled to at the VA. 

These are VA’s dental categories and the type of care that comes with them:

  • Class I, IIA, IIC or IV: You are eligible for any necessary dental care. 
  • Class II: One time dental care.  Must have honorable discharge and served at least 90 days during Persian Gulf War.  Apply within 180 days of discharge.
  • Class III: Dental condition determined by VA.  Can receive dental care to treat these conditions only. (Service-connected medical condition.)
  • Class V: Vocational rehabilitation program.  Basically, you can get dental care as determined by VA, if you complete the program.
  • Class VI: Scheduled for inpatient care and there’s a dental issue that complicates an existing medical issue.  VA will fix the dental problem.
  • Class IIB: Homeless veterans receiving VA medical care.  One time course of dental care, treat moderate to severe periodontal conditions. (Can even help homeless vets find employment!)

Vets who live in any of the VA’s nursing homes or are in domiciliary care will be provided dental services. 

VA obviously knows that its dental care is an issue.  When the agency started, the first review and update to the ratings criteria in more than 70 years was dental. The first one change was an adjustment to the Dental and Oral Conditions.  The change went into effect September 10, last year.  If you have a claim or an appeal pending for a dental or oral condition before that date, both the old and new criteria will be used to make the decision.  For claims received by the VA since Sept. 10, 2017, the new rating system is used when evaluating the need for dental care.

Since there was a change, it wouldn’t hurt to ask someone about it the next time you’re at a VAMC.   You can find the closest VA Dental Clinic here.

Many state-run VA’s have special grants specifically set aside for veteran dental needs.  ConnectingVets has a series of articles explaining some state VA benefits.  Find your state and go from there. State Government websites often have links to services and organizations that can help with dental issues too. 

The VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) is another option for veterans.  Right now, it’s funded through Dec. 31, 2021 and there are two plans, Delta Dental and MetLIfe, both with several options, so you can create something that fits your dental needs.  However, you are responsible to pay the premium and any copays. 

Finally there’s the Aspen Dental Health Mouth Movement. This program isn't funded by the VA, but they do focus on helping veterans. The program was created in 2014 and it's basically a 42-foot long dentist office on wheels!  The program offers free service for veterans who live in areas where dental care isn’t easy to access.  Appointments are needed and you can find the spring tour dates here.