dental_insurance/t5_dental_insurance.htm

 

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 these pages Medicaid.gov | InsureKidsNow.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) Dental Lifeline Network.

This organization runs the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program. It provides free, comprehensive dental treatment for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically compromised and cannot afford necessary treatment and are not elegible for public aid.

f) 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.

g) 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.

h) 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.

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i) 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.)

j) 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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