dental costs deductible?
I have had $32,000 worth of dental work done on my teeth this year,
partly to save all of my teeth after many years of neglect, and
also cosmetic work. Is any or all of it deductible as a medical
Hang on to your dentures, because it looks like
you have a nice deductible medical expense. Medical expenses are
the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention
of disease and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function
of the body.
They also include dental expenses. Medical expenses
are an itemized deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040. You must reduce
your total medical expenses for the year by 7.5 percent of adjusted
gross income. For example, if your income for the year is $100,000
and your other medical expenses (such as health insurance, co-pays
and prescriptions) are $5,500, you can claim $30,000 as an itemized
deduction ($32,000 + $5,500) - (0.075 x $100,000). It would be a
good idea to have any other expensive procedures done and paid for
before the end of the year, including anything for your spouse and
Publication 502 states:
you cannot include in medical expenses the amount you pay for unnecessary cosmetic
surgery. This includes any procedure that is directed at improving the patient's
appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or
prevent or treat illness or disease. You generally cannot include in medical expenses
the amount you pay for procedures such as face lifts, hair transplants, hair removal
(electrolysis), teeth whitening and liposuction.
You can include in medical expenses the amount
you pay for cosmetic surgery if it is necessary to improve a deformity
arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality,
a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma or a disfiguring
An individual undergoes surgery that removes a breast as part of treatment for
cancer. She pays a surgeon to reconstruct the breast. The surgery to reconstruct
the breast corrects a deformity directly related to the disease. The cost of the
surgery is includible in her medical expenses.
Therefore, if the cosmetic portion of the dental procedure
was an inseparable part of the dental work to save your teeth, you
could claim the full amount paid as a medical expense. You have
to pay your expenses before the end of the year in order to claim
the deduction in 2005. Payment includes payment by credit card but
would not include payment arrangements with the dentist. If you
have expenditures that extend into the next year, you can prepay
those and claim the deduction in 2005.