Low Cost Dental Care Options: Clinics, Schools of Dentistry, and Dental Plans
By Susan Braden
Published Oct 11 2010
If you are looking for low cost dental work, there are valuable resources available that can furnish you with the support you need. Read on to learn more.
Federally qualified health centers are community based, and provide comprehensive mental, physical, and oral healthcare services to persons of all ages, regardless of their ability to pay.
- If you are eligible, you can receive low cost dental services for yourself and your family on a sliding fee scale based on your income. You pay a set single fee each visit, whether that visit includes one or five procedures. In other words, you will pay $30 for your day at the clinic, whether you only got an x-ray or had three teeth extracted.
- These federal clinics can be especially valuable for Medicaid recipients, who are increasingly finding that the doors of private dental practices are being slammed in their faces.
- You might have to wait one to three weeks for an appointment at a clinic such as this, but even the poorest of the poor can be assured of necessary oral healthcare.
- In her Slate magazine article “The American Way of Dentistry: Inside the Dental Safety Net,” June Thomas reveals that in 2007, these health clinics provided services to less than 2% of all Americans who were on Medicaid or were uninsured. Clearly, there is still work to be done in spreading the word about these health clinics.
Schools of Dentistry
If you live close to one of America’s 58 dental schools, they might be able to provide you with the affordable care you need. You allow student dentists under the supervision of fully qualified oral care professionals to treat you, enabling them to obtain vital practical experience. In return, you may save as much as 30% in comparison to what you would pay at a private practice.
Keep in mind, however, that there are some disadvantages:
- You often encounter very long waits; many patients block off an entire day for their clinic visit.
- In addition, you probably won’t see some of the comforting frills and ambiance of a swanky private practice.
- Nevertheless, you will be showered with individual attention – as long as you have the time and patience to wait your turn.
Discount Dental Plans
If you need your teeth treated immediately, consider signing up for one of these alternatives to traditional dental insurance.
- For a low monthly fee, you will immediately have access to a large network of participating dentists and specialists in your area.
- No cumbersome paperwork, high deductibles, long waiting periods, or annual maximum caps will block your access to service.
- As long as you stay in the network, you can access savings of anywhere from 20-60% off or more on a full array of routine, preventative and emergency dental procedures.
- You can get the care you need in a conventional dentist’s office, not a grim health clinic or a bustling and sometimes impersonal dental school.
- You can begin receiving services right away, and will not be forced to wait for hours for your number to be called.
By painful experience, you now know the importance of regular dental visits, as well as prompt attention to problems when they arise. You might not have dental insurance, but that does not mean you need to suffer in silence. As you have seen, there are a number of low cost dental resources at your disposal, regardless of your financial situation.