According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are roughly 108 million Americans without dental insurance. While brushing, flossing and using alcohol free mouthwash may help prevent oral health problems from arising, it’s important to visit a dentist on a regular basis or if any problems come up. Although dentists visits are important, they can be expensive if you don’t have insurance. Even with dental insurance, professional dental care can be pricey. However, inexpensive or free care is out there, and depending on your situation, you may qualify.
Free or low-cost dental providers
If you need a procedure done and you don’t have insurance or money to pay for it, go to the United Way, your local health department, or a center for Medicare and Medicaid services. These resources can help you find dental care at a reduced price, if you qualify.
Discount dental plans
Discount dental plans can be a perfect option for people on a tight budget. These plans provide members with discounts on dental procedures at certain providers who accept the plans. There is an annual membership fee that has to be paid to enroll. While these plans work well to provide people with discounted care, not all plans are the same and many dental care providers do not accept them. Before enrolling in any of the discount dental plans, make sure to do your research so you know where you can go and what discounts you’ll receive.
Another option for finding inexpensive dental care are dental schools. While it might not sound like a good idea to have a dental student performing dental procedures, a licensed dentist will be right there directing the student. Although this is a great option for low-cost dental care, if you need a root canal or other more advanced procedures, you’ll probably have to go elsewhere. Most dental schools only do routine cleanings and minor procedures. However, there are some post-graduate and faculty clinics that will do more involved dental work at a discounted price.
Dental clinical trials can be a way to get yourself some free or discounted dental care. While these opportunities are usually reserved for people with certain dental conditions, if you fit what their looking for, you could benefit. The National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research often posts new clinical studies that need people. To find out about dental and other health clinical trials go to ClinicalTrials.gov or call 1-800-411-1222.
Events for free dental care
In addition to the items listed above, there are many volunteer events that provide free care to people who cannot afford to pay for it. Most of the events are run by local nonprofits, so it is important to keep an eye out for any events near you. Also, American’s Dentist Care Foundation provides free services to thousands of Americans in need. The American’s Dentist Care Foundation operates across the country, but only hosts events a few times a year, so if you think this may be the right option for you, pay attention to the schedule in your state. Another nonprofit that puts on events is Dentistry from the Heart. This Florida-based nonprofit organizes free dental care events and provides people with resources worldwide.