Dental Care for FREE
The main reason why Americans don't access dental care on a regular basis is due to the high cost.
This is no surprise since an exam and routine cleaning by a dentist could cost over $200. You are looking at several hundreds of dollars for fixing cavities and getting braces or dentures will cost thousands of dollars.
Those costs are out of reach for most people, especially for those who are unemployed, retired, have low income or don't have dental insurance. Even those with dental coverage who have to get expensive treatments will still have to pay a huge bill out of their own pockets.
You might not be aware that you can access dental care for free at Nonprofit Clinics, Public Dental Clinics, Dental Schools, Donated Services, etc. At these locations, you can get access to low-cost or even free dental care.
In certain cities, there are dental clinics that are set up specifically for those who have no insurance, low income or are unable to pay for dental care.
Public Dental Clinics
Taxpayers fund some these clinics or others receive funding from federal government grants given to community health centers or state health departments. The prices are low and there are fixed or sliding fees depending on your income. The majority of these clinics offer cleanings, exams, fillings, x-rays, root canals, crowns and surgery to remove damaged teeth. Emergency dentists are available at some locations.
There is a minimum of two dental or dental hygiene programs in each state. There 160 such programs in New York and 4 in Alaska. They consist of dental students who need practical experience so they can graduate.
The majority of dental schools have clinics where students provide dental services for minimal costs. Root canals, fillings and other dental services are less than half the price of regular dental practices. It will take longer than normal to get an appointment since a licensed practitioner supervises the student doing the work. The great part is that the treatment is done according to standards.
Free care is provided by certain state or national charities that receive donated materials and labor. There are Denta Lifeline locations in all 50 states and they take on clients over 65 years old and those with serious mental or physical disabilities. A similar program brings together volunteer orthodontists with low-income children for braces and other expensive dental treatments.
Free Dental Clinics
There is a much bigger demand for dental care than the supply. Professional dental groups, faith-based groups and a number of charities donate dental services. Even so, they have long wait lists or they are actually closed. Funding might be cut off or they only serve seniors or those who have medical problems or disabilities.
The America’s Dentists Care Foundation's Mission of Mercy program host dental clinics for two days at high schools, fairgrounds and other locations in various states. Some only treat adults and others treat kids as well. Proof of income isn't usually required and they treat as many people as time allows. To find out the dates and location for the next clinics, visit the website.
A number of dentists provide a few free treatments annually. Other dentists might send these referrals because of the level of treatment required and the patient not being able to afford the treatment. Have you been with the same dentist for a while and require financial assistance? Tell them about your finances and see if you qualify.
Government Dental Coverage
For those who are unemployed or earn very little, see if your family qualify for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Even though you aren't a parent, you could qualify. Medicaid doesn't charge monthly premiums in the majority of states. Children up to age 19 are covered for dental care. About 30% of states provide limited dental benefits for adults and another 30% provide extensive dental treatment coverage.
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