Looking for low income dental clinics? I feel your pain. Literally. For years, I couldn’t afford to get help with my teeth because in the United States, our healthcare system seems to be designed to treat teeth like luxury bones that only the rich can afford to keep.
One in three American adults lacks dental insurance… and even those with dental insurance, it often doesn’t provide enough coverage to actually be useful.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can get help with your dental needs without breaking the bank. If you’re looking for low income dental clinics, try this.
Apply for Medicaid.
In some states, Medicaid can help pay for your dental expenses. I know this is true in Washington, where Medicaid eventually paid to have my wisdom teeth removed. However, most states have opted not to provide dental care to low income people.. So you’ll have to check with your state’s rules.
Try CHIP for low income children.
CHIP usually provides dental services to children who qualify. This is the Children’s Health Insurance Program and it helps children up to age 19 who do not have health insurance. Just like Medicaid, this program varies state to state… but most states have opted to provide dental coverage for children.
Look for local Dental Schools.
Dental Schools can be a great place to find cheap, quality dental care. These teaching facilities have clinics that allow students to gain experience, and they do so by providing services at a very reduced cost.
The students are closely supervised by experienced, licensed dentists, who make sure that the work is done correctly. WebMD states tatt these appointments can take longer than usual because licensed supervisors check the work at each state to ensure accuracy, but it’s a great way to save money because these schools often charge half or even less of regular price for services.
Check dental hygiene schools for low-cost preventative care.
Dental Hygiene Schools are a great place to look for cheap cleanings and other preventative care. They don’t offer the same scope of treatment that actual dental schools offer, but they are still a valuable tool for low income households who can’t afford preventative care at a more expensive office.
Every state has at least two dental or dental hygiene programs… and some states have many more. New York has 160! If you need low cost dental care, you need to check this out.
Public low income dental clinics can help.
Public dental clinics are low-cost clinics that are run by health departments and community health centers. They are funded by grants from the federal government, so they charge much lower prices than usual dentists. Many charge sliding fees based on how much you can afford. These clinics typically offer exams, cleanings, X-rays, root canals, fillings, crowns, surgical tooth extractions and more. You can find a list of dental clinics in your area at toothwisdom.org.
Find Donated Dental Services in your area.
Donated Dental Services are offered by 15,000 volunteer dentists and dental labs across America. These services provide free dental treatment to those who are elderly, disabled, or have chronic medical conditions. For more information about these programs and to find one in your area, visit DentalLifeline.org.
Contact the United Way for referrals.
The United Way also maintains a directory of low income resources, including dental clinics, in many communities across America. If you don’t have a United Way available, you may also be able to find referrals from your local Community Action Council, Dental School, WIC office or a local social worker.