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How to access oral care on a limited or stressed budget

Feb 01, 2012
A recent dental care study reported that there are 26 percent of Americans without access to preventive dental care. Fortunately that doesn't mean there are no programs available to assist those without dental insurance or with limited financial resources.  In fact, there are numerous ways to obtain dental care even if you have no dental insurance or a discount dental plan.

Some of these dental care programs are run by volunteer or non-profit organizations, and others have been created by individual states, counties and cities.  The mission of each varies: some are designed for impoverished children, others for special needs individuals, still others focus on residents of specific geographic areas.

Treatment costs usually vary and often the charged fee is adjusted based on the income level of the patient or their family. If your city or county health department doesn't have useful information, you might check the website of your state's dental association for available programs. Local dental societies may also be a good source to locate such programs.

In the meantime, below are some resources that might prove useful:

  • Know the cost of care before you set foot into a dentist's office. By knowing the costs upfront, you can prioritize immediate needs over less necessary procedures. Below is a link to a dental cost calculator to help. http://www.bracesinfo.com/dentalcosts/
  • Visit a dental school.  Every dental school operates differently, but most have programs for emergency care, walk-ins and appointments.  Many dental schools will help you determine the cost of care and some even evaluate patients free of charge.
  • Talk to Uncle Sam. The U.S. Department of Health operates a number of federally funded free clinics.  Everyone is eligible, but don't be prepared to wait your turn for treatment.
  • Paritcipate in a clinical trial.  These programs are free but require eligibility. Also, the purpose of a clinical trial is to experiment with new techniques or experimental drugs, so use caution.  Below is a link to help search for clinical trials available in your area: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/

Source: Business Insider


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