If you are getting ready to file your tax returns and you plan on itemizing your federal deductions, you may be able to deduct dental expenses for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.

Mark Anderson, CPA, is the chief financial officer at Delta Dental of Arizona.

According to the IRS, medical and dental care expenses include “payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.” This means you could deduct a variety of expenses including preventive dental treatments such as cleanings, sealants and fluoride, along with more extensive treatments to alleviate dental disease, such as fillings, braces and dentures. Travel costs to and from dental appointments like mileage or parking fees may also be deductible. The IRS’ current standard mileage rate for a car when you use it for medical reasons is 17 cents a mile. 

Generally, medical expenses exclude the amount you pay for cosmetic procedures or services that do not promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease. Teeth whitening, for example, is not deductible. You also can’t include expenses that were paid by insurance companies or other sources. For a full list of potential write-offs, check out Publication 502 on the IRS’ website. 

Before taking a deduction, you need to check your dental and medical expense percentage. Normally, you can only deduct the amount of your medical and dental expenses that are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

If you have additional questions or want to know if Arizona offers a state income tax deduction for dental expenses, consult your personal tax advisor as this information is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for tax advice.


Mark Anderson, CPA, is the chief financial officer at Delta Dental of Arizona. He oversees multiple departments, including finance, accounting, information technology and facilities management. With more than 30 years’ experience in finance and health care, he serves on several boards within the community, including Southwest Human Development and Arizona Coyotes Foundation.