Let’s face it, the economy stinks right now. Unemployment levels are the highest we’ve seen in years, people are losing their homes, and many people are forced to forgo important medical or dental procedures. In fact, nearly 100 million Americans are living without some form of dental insurance. For those 100 million Americans these tough times are especially painful. The staggering number of uninsured is particularly troubling in light of the news in recent years highlighting the probably connection between dental health and overall health.
However, a lack of dental insurance doesn’t mean you have to go without much needed dental care. In fact, dentists across the country have recognized this need and have organized free clinics to help the uninsured cope with high dental care costs. Below, I’ve compiled some tips for locating free or low cost dental care in your area.
Tips for locating free or low cost dental care
- Clinical Trials – The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research(NIDCR) periodically performs clinical trials targeting specific dental, oral, and craniofacial conditions. Researchers may provide study participants with limited free or low-cost dental treatment for the particular condition they are studying. For a complete listing of NIDCR clinical trials, please visit the clinicaltrials.gov website.
- United Way – The United Way may be able to connect you to low cost or free dental care resources in your community. Call your local chapter for more information.
- Dental Schools – While dental students are still learning their craft, you can take advantage of their low rates. Don’t worry, a skilled instructor will be watching their every move so you’ll be in good hands. For a listing of dental schools around the US, visit the ADA.org website.
- State Dental Associations – Contact your state dental association for recommended free or low cost dental care resources. To contact your state dental association visit the ADA.org website.
- U.S Department of Health & Human Services(HRSA) – The HRSA can help you locate a local federally-funded health center that offers reduced-fee dental care. At these centers you pay what you can afford. To locate a local health center enter your details into the HRSA search engine.
- Medicaid Services – Most states provide limited emergency dental services for people age 21 or over, while some offer comprehensive services. For most individuals under the age of 21, dental services are provided under Medicaid(nidcr.nih.gov). Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website for more information.
Additional Resources to check out
A number of helpful websites maintain listings of available low cost and free dental care clinics around the US. I’ve listed some below for your reference.
If you are in need of free or low cost dental care services I hope you find these resources valuable. If you know of someone with such a need please pass along this post. If you are aware of additional resources that I haven’t listed above, please submit a comment and I’ll add it to the list.