Financially disadvantaged people in Florida have a number of options when it comes to low cost or free dental care.The types of services available vary considerably form program to program and various eligibility requirements may apply, with fees often based on income.
For adults, Medicaid provides only emergency services, which basically includes just extractions.
County health departments and community health centers are available in many counties and eligibility and types of services vary.
Families with income below 200% of the federal poverty level (around $35,000 for a family of four), should apply to the KidCare Program for their children. The Kidcare program provides both medical and dental services and information is available at http://www.floridakidcare.org.
The University of Florida College of Dentistry operates several dental clinics across the state. Services by dental students can be provided at rates that may be 30% to 50% lower than those of private dental practices. To be seen, a patients’ dental needs would have to be compatible with the student’s educational needs. The clinic locations include Gainesville, Hialeah, St. Petersburg and a pediatric dental center in Naples. More information is available at http://www.dental.ufl.edu/patients/.
Finally, a non-profit organization known as Dentistry from the Heart has enlisted dental practices from across the country to sponsor free dental events for their communities. Services most commonly offered include cleanings, fillings and extractions.
Upcoming events are scheduled at Cosmetic Dentistry of South Florida in Cape Coral on Feb 18, and another at the offices of Dr Stephen Dunn DDS of Ocala on March 18, 2011.