Dental treatment can be quite costly for families that do not have dental insurance. Fortunately, there are a number of sources of assistance for families that need help paying for dental treatment.
Medicaid, a health insurance program for people with low incomes, pays for dental care for children in all 50 states and for adults in some states. The treatments covered vary somewhat from state to state. Apply at the agency that administers welfare benefits, including Medicaid, in the county in which you live.
Not all people with low incomes qualify for Medicaid; in some states, only children, elderly people, disabled people and pregnant women can qualify. In other states, other groups can also receive benefits. Contact the welfare agency in the county in which you live to find out if you qualify.
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a health insurance program for some children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. It covers basic dental care for children and adolescents. In most counties, you can apply at the same place you would apply for Medicaid. In some counties, you can also apply at the Board of Health.
Clinics With Sliding Scales
Most areas have dental clinics that provide basic dental care on a sliding scare for patients with low incomes and no dental insurance. That means they base the fees on the patients’ income; patients with no incomes or very low incomes may be able to get free dental care. Contact your local Board of Health or United Way to ask about such clinics in your area.
Medicare provides health insurance for many people age 65 and over as well as for some younger people disabilities. Medicare helps pay for dental treatment only under limited circumstances, such as tooth extractions necessary prior to radiation treatments to the jaw. It also covers dental work that is a necessary part of reconstruction of the jaw after an injury of some sort. Contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to find out if you qualify for Medicare or to apply, and contact 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) if you already have Medicare coverage to find out if a particular procedure will be covered.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website reports that some dental schools offer free or low cost treatment by dental students. Students are supervised by experienced instructors. Contact the school nearest you to find out about their services and fees.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. http://www.cms.gov/MedicaidDentalCoverage/ . Medicaid Dental Coverage.
Medicare.com. http://www.medicare.com/services-and-procedures/medicare-and-dental-plans.html . Medicare and Dental Plans.
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/popularpublications/findinglowcostdentalcare/ . Finding Low-Cost Dental Care.