If you didn’t have to worry about expensive financial costs, would you prioritize dental healthcare? One of the main reasons people put off visiting the dentist is because of cost. Even with dental insurance advanced treatment can have hefty out-of-pocket costs. Don’t fret there are ways to get access to low-cost quality dental healthcare. It just takes a little research, patience, and commitment from you.
Dental/Dental Hygiene Schools
This is my number one suggestion because there are many eager student dentists and dental hygienists scrambling to find patients to meet the requirements necessary for graduation. Please don’t side-eye me, but you’ll receive some of the best care at professional schools. Every step is checked by the supervising licensed provider.
I think the biggest drawback to receiving care at a school is the amount of time it takes to complete the treatment. So, my suggestion is if your patience is thin, and you don’t have the extra time to spend receiving care don’t seek care at the schools.
To find an accredited school near you, search on the ADA and ADHA websites. They will have a list of schools in each state. The schools provide care at a reduced rate. They need the experience, and you need the care. Everyone wins in this situation!
Public Health Dental Clinics
They are clinics funded by the government and are usually run by your local or state health department. They can also be federally qualified community health centers (FQHC). They often offer services that are low cost, fixed-rate, or sliding fee based on income. You will most likely have to verify your income status to determine your eligibility. This is usually completed by submitting financial statements such as check stubs or tax returns.
I think that the biggest drawback could be services may only be available to children or, the type of treatment is limited to simple dental procedures. You can contact your local health department to locate a health department offering dental health services. You may also find FQHC or other community health centers on HRSA website.
Free or Non-profit Dental Clinics
Many charities, faith-based organizations, and professional dental organizations provide dental services. Non-profit dental clinics often work to provide affordable access to dental care to those who have low incomes, no insurance or can’t afford any care. Some of these organizations usually host monthly free clinics with volunteer providers. These events are usually free and on a first come first serve basis.
People often snub their nose at these types of organizations due to a small percentage of bad apple situations. However, my entire career has been spent caring for those who experience oral health disparities. I’ve witnessed and given amazing dental care to those in need.
If you need dental care but are experiencing financial difficulties, please do some research to locate facilities in your area so that you can have access to these services. These organizations work hard to eradicate dental health inequities. Dental healthcare is not a luxury. It’s a health service that everyone rightfully deserves to have access to. Oral health matters and so do you!