Just like medical expenses, taxpayers may deduct dental expenses on their tax returns. However, only medical and dental expenses that exceed 10 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income are deductible. The cost of dental procedures, visits, services, equipment, medication and associated travel are all deductible. Over-the-counter medications, toiletries, cosmetic procedures and payments made through a health savings account are not deductible.
Overview of Medical and Dental Deductions
You can deduct all medical and dental expenses you incur on behalf of yourself, your spouse and any dependents. However, the deduction is limited. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct medical and dental expenses only to the extent they exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. The one exception is for taxpayers who are over age 65, who can deduct medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. Itemizing medical and dental expenses also means you're not able to claim the standard deduction.
Any expense incurred to diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure a dental condition is considered a medical expense. Copayments for teeth cleanings, X-rays, fillings, crowns, braces, Invisalign, dentures, root canals and wisdom teeth extraction are all covered. If your dentist prescribed you a medication related to the dental work, the cost of the medication is covered as long as it is not an over-the-counter medicine.
What's Not Covered
Dental procedures that are purely cosmetic don't count as a medical expense. For example, if there's no health benefit to a teeth whitening, you can't deduct that as a medical expense. Basic toiletries and cosmetics, like toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, whitening strips and floss, don't count as medical expenses. Finally, you can't deduct any expenses that were reimbursed or paid through a tax-savings vehicle like a health savings account.
Along with the cost of services, treatments and products, the cost of travel to dentist appointments is also tax-deductible. If you took a bus, taxi or train to a dentist appointment, you may deduct the cost of the fare. If you took your own car, you may deduct the actual cost of gas and oil that you used to get there or you can deduct the IRS standard mileage reimbursement for medical visits. For tax year 2014, the IRS allows taxpayers a medical mileage deduction of 23.5 cents per mile driven; for 2015, that deduction drops to 23 cents a mile.