Dental assistance programs for people in need (low income, no dental insurance, etc...). - How to find programs and clinics near you.

Locating dental assistance.

This page has been set up to help people who have limited financial resources (low income, no dental insurance, etc...) to locate assistance programs in their area that can help them to obtain affordable dental care.

What levels of assistance are available?

It just depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.

  • Some organizations and clinics have programs set up to provide free dental care. For some of them you must qualify (according to income level or where you live) but not all (see Mission of Mercy link below).
  • Other assistance programs support those in need by providing their dental services at a reduced-cost. (How much of a reduction is frequently a sliding scale based on the patient's income level and possibly where they live.)

How do you find out about the programs near you?

Try your state dental association's website.

One good place to start looking for local assistance programs is on the website of your state's dental association (see table below).

These sites frequently feature a web page where they list the contact information for programs set up to assist at-risk or low-income persons in their state. We link directly to many of these pages in our table below.

What other resources might you use?

a) The Bureau of Primary Health Care.

As a part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Bureau provides support for federally-funded community health centers that offer free or reduced-cost health care, including dental.

This page on the HRSA website can help you to locate a center near you.

b) State Medicaid and CHIP programs.

Federal law requires states to provide dental services for children covered by Medicaid. Whether a program offers coverage for adults is up to each individual state.

State-run CHIP programs (set up to help with dental care for children who are members of families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid) may be a source of aid for minors.

Use this page on Medicaid.gov to find out more about both of these programs.

c) Your local health department.

An excellent place to look for information about those assistance programs nearest you is your city or county's health department. These offices are typically very knowledgeable about what programs exist in their jurisdiction and can help to steer you toward them.

d) Mission of Mercy.

Generally speaking, Mission of Mercy dental clinics are organized on a state-by-state basis. The services they provide are free, but typically limited by the time frame during which their offered, and location. (Frequently a state will have just one MOM clinic per year, in a different city each year.)

For information about MOM clinics use this link.

e) The United Way.

Your local branch of the United Way may be aware of programs or clinics that offer free or reduced-cost dental services near you.

f) Dial 211.

Telephone number 211 is designated by the Federal Communications Commission to be used as a source of information about health and human services in your local area. Not all areas provide this service but there's no reason not to investigate.

g) Your child's school.

If you're looking for programs set up to assist low-income families with the cost of dental work for their children, don't overlook contacting the office of their school's nurse.

h) Dental Schools.

Dental schools are generally known for offering their services at a reduced cost. In some cases, they may have additional programs or clinics set up specifically for low-income, no-insurance individuals. (Listing of US dental schools.)

While there's only about 65 schools that train dentists, there are a few hundred dental hygiene programs. They too typically offer reduced-cost services, although usually just for preventive dental procedures. However, they're likely to be knowledgeable about assistance programs in your area where you might obtain the remainder of the treatment you need. (List of US dental hygiene schools.)

i) ObamaCare / The Affordable Care Act

Some healthcare plans sold through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces include dental coverage. (Dental coverage that's not a stand-alone policy.)

If you have chosen one of these combination plans and your income level qualifies you for a premium tax credit, it will apply to both your health and dental coverage (since only a single premium is paid for the policy).

When it comes to extensive dental work, you may find the level of dental benefits paid by these types of policies to be limited. You'll simply have to investigate what's available to you.

Help us fill out this table.

If you know of any dental programs (state, county or even city level) whose target population is low-income uninsured adults, seniors and/or children and would like to share it with others, we'd be happy to add it to our table. Just send the information to the email address on our Contact Us page.


How to use our table to find a dental assistance program or clinic near you.

Scroll down our table until you find your state, and then investigate the links we've posted.

  • Even if your state's association doesn't seem to provide any information, you should email them. Just because they don't have anything posted doesn't mean they aren't aware of any programs, or know someone who might.
  • Even if the people at the state level aren't of any help, ask them for the contact information for your area's local branch of their organization.

    All state dental associations are composed of individual sub-districts (typically set up according to metropolitan area, county or state region). At this more local level, it's possible that someone will have information to share that people higher up were unaware of.

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Comments

We don't have any first hand information to share with you, however we did do some searching around.

For Wisconsin:
Here's a link to the Wisconsin Dental Association.
On their home page they specifically make mention of Medicaid/BadgerCare. While you've no doubt already have investigated these avenues, some of the associated phone numbers with this information might help you find a different source for care.

Also on the WDA website we see this page that provides a link to a list of clinics that provide low-income aid. In that list are a few area code 262 phone numbers.

Additionally, this link, also on the page above, gives basic and specific advice about places to look for assistance. (This information would be beneficial to people in any state.)
--
Calling your county health department can be an excellent source of leads. This should be a must do.
An actual call to the WDA and talking to some staff member might also produce more leads than just looking at their website.
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Also, Marquette University has a dental shoool. They might base their fees on a sliding scale based on income.

We found this 2015 publication from Marquette that on page 5 specifically discusses "reduced fees" for "low income" patients. Possibly one of their clinics is in your immediate area.
------
Finally, here's a link for the Greater Milwaukee Dental Association. This is a subgroup of both the American Dental Association and also Wisconsin Dental Association. These are the dentists in your specific area and those who are in a good position to know what's available. If you don't find information on their website, make contact with them directly. It may lead to something.

My mother currently receives Medicaid and has no dental coverage at all. Due to all the medications she is on her teeth have all gone bad and she needs to have them removed and dentures or something put in. I have been searching high and low to help find her a dentist that wont charge her 2 arms and a leg for this. I am also trying to find a low cost insurance or coverage plan to help her get this completed. Any other thoughts on how I can get her some assistance?

We have no specific advice to offer you.

In passing we'll say that your Mom's situation as you describe it seems to be as much a medical condition (an inability to maintain proper nutrition) as opposed to a strictly dental one. As you seek assistance sources, that type of change in classification might work to your benefit.

Communicating with actual people often leads to resources that can be hard to find otherwise. So, as this page suggests, a good start is to be in contact with those in your area who are likely to be in the know about resources.

This would include: your local health department (city/county), your state's Dental Association as well as its local branch, your local branch of the United Way, clinics located by using the Bureau of Primary Health Care link above, dialing 211 to see what happens and if your city has a dental school (see link above) checking about possibilities with them.

Best of luck with your quest.

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