For a bit more of a time commitment and a pinch of extra gumption, you can save a lot of money for cheap dental procedures by partnering with a dentistry school.
These schools need patients for the dentists-in-training to practice with, and many people simply can’t afford a private dentist. These schools are great opportunities for very skilled, advanced students to complete hours of training, while offering discounted dental work to patients who need it.
The students are required to have had sufficient training before working on the public. A professional usually supervises the students, so they have backup help and instruction if something actually goes wrong.
The UT Health Science Center in San Antonio offers three separate programs where patients can get cheap dental work. Information about these programs can be found on the Center’s website.
One program is the predoctoral clinic, which has the cheapest rates of all three programs, but it requires the largest time commitment. In this clinic, the faculty directly supervises dental students as they work on patients, who must be available for appointments at least twice a month. This cheap clinic cares for basic dental needs.
Another program is the advanced education clinic, where dentists are receiving advanced or specialty training. Faculty supervision is still required, but comprehensive dental care is offered. Fees are higher than in the predoctoral clinic, but still lower than those of a private practice.
The third clinic at the UT Health Science Center is the faculty practice clinic, where general dentists as well as specialists on faculty at the Center offer comparable prices to private practices.
These clinics offer anything from cheap root canals and implants to cheap braces and oral medicine. This cheap dental work is usually comparable to that of private practices.
For all of these programs, you must go through a screening procedure before you can become a patient. You must go through this screening to determine if you are a suitable patient to teach the student what he needs to know and provide him with the specific practice he needs. If your needs match up with student training needs, you may become a patient, and you will be assigned to a student based on his specific needs and finally receive the cheap dental procedures you need.
The screening process at the Texas A&M Health Science Center costs a nonrefundable $54, and no cheap dental care will be given during this process.
Some cheap dental schools offer emergency care as well, which does not require patient screening, but also does not admit the patient to other dental care with the facility in the specific clinics. The Texas A&M Health Science Center only extracts teeth, and charges a total of $67 for one tooth pulled. Additional extractions in the same visit cost $19 each. This cheap dental work is a quick option for emergencies.
Depending on the exact procedures you need and your willingness to let a dental student do that work, a dental school may be an extremely viable and affordable for you.