Today, dental care can cost a small fortune. For cash-strapped individuals and families, the cost of routine preventative dental care can be a burden. The cost of major dental work such as crowns or dentures could be a real budget buster. Is it possible for a person to find affordable dental care, or even free dental care if needed?
Low-cost dentistry can be a reality if you know where to look. The following 7 suggestions can help you locate the care that you need.
1. Clinical Trials
Medical and dental researchers often look for volunteers with specific conditions to participate in their studies. Dental research participants receive free or low-cost dental treatment. While not as widely available as other options, the right type of clinical trail could be a godsend for some people in need of extensive dental work. For a complete list of current or up-coming federally funded clinical trials, visit clinicaltrials.gov.
2. Dental Schools
While there are fewer than 40 dental schools throughout the country, if one is near you, it can be a good resource for quality, low-cost dental care. Dental students at these facilities gain real-life experience treating patients at a reduced cost. All care is supervised by experienced instructors. Check your local telephone book or go on-line to find out if a dental school is in your area.
3. Health Resources and Services Administration
This Federal Agency supports federally-funded community health centers throughout the country. These centers provide free or low-cost health and dental services to people of all ages. Call 1-888-Ask-HRSA to find out if a center is in your area.
Medicaid is a state program, supplemented by Federal dollars, that provides medical benefits, and in some cases dental benefits, to individuals and families. States set their own guidelines regarding eligibility and services. In most states, dental services are provided to children and young adults under the age of 21.
5. Other State and Local Government Resources
Your state or county health department should know of any programs in your area that offer low-cost or free dental care. Check your local phonebook for telephone numbers for both state and local health departments.
6. United Way
Call your local United Way office. They may be able to direct you to low-cost or free dental care services in your community.
7. A Low-Cost Dental Plan
Dental plans have grown in popularity in recent years. Unlike traditional dental insurance, dental plans require no waiting periods and pre-existing dental conditions are covered immediately. The drawback is you must use a participating plan dentist for savings. However, if a dental plan has a suitable selection of plan dentists in your area, then becoming a plan member is an effective way to cut your dental bills in half.