Dental care can be expensive. In today's depressed economy, the high cost of dentistry can be prohibitive for millions of Americans. So where does a person turn to find affordable dental care? Are there any options for free dental care near you?
Affordable dentistry and possibly free dentistry is available in most areas of the country, but you need to know where to look. Here are some suggestions.
Your Local United Way Office
United Way is a coalition of charitable organizations, with chapters in all 50 states. The United Way office in your area will have a listing of any nearby free dental clinics or providers.
If nothing is listed in your immediate area, don't give up. Ask the local office for the telephone numbers of any United Way offices in the surrounding area and check with these offices as well. A short car or bus ride is a small price to pay, if you are in pain and in dire need of dental work.
There are currently 61 schools of dentistry, located in 36 States and Puerto Rico. In order to provide experience to their students, these schools offer very affordable or free dental work. All student work is closely supervised by experienced dental school instructors.
Your County Health Department
Local or state health departments will know of there are any affordable or free dental programs in your area. Check under government agencies in your local telephone directory for the numbers. Local health departments may also know if there are any Federal dental programs available nearby.
Medicaid is a state assistance program that provides medical benefits to low-income individuals and families. In some cases, dental care benefits may also be available. Each individual state sets its own guidelines regarding services and eligibility. In most states, dental care is available to children under the age of 18 or 21.
Affordable Dental Plans
There are a number of dental plans on the market today. For a small monthly or annual enrollment fee, these plans provide affordable, discount dental care at participating plan dentists. Unlike regular dental insurance plans, existing dental conditions are covered immediately, with no waiting period required. If a dental plan has participating network dentists in your area, then this is a great way for you to obtain quality dental care at half the cost of regular retail dentistry.