“I need dental work but have no money!” Does this sound like you?
Dental work is not typically considered a life-or-death matter, but for those who need it, it can be pretty important.
Unfortunately, dental work is often very expensive and some people simply do not have the money to pay for it.
In this post, we’ll explore your best options, including grants to help pay for dental work, if you find yourself in this situation.
Research Your Options
Contrary to what many people believe, you don’t need to go to the dentist as often as you may think.
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that most people only need to visit the dentist for a routine check-up and cleaning every six months.
However, this rule is really more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. In reality, as long as you take care of your teeth and visit the dentist when you have a problem, you shouldn’t need to come in more than twice a year.
So save yourself some time and money by cutting back on those trips to the dentist.
If you’re really on tight budget you can save money by doing a lot of things at home, like deep cleaning your own teeth, deciding to cut your own hair, or even save money on car repairs with creative methods.
Skip unnecessary procedures. If you’re considering a cosmetic procedure that is not medically necessary, it’s probably not worth the expense.
Second, rethink wisdom teeth and braces. Wisdom teeth are often removed unnecessarily, and braces can be very expensive.
Tactic for Success
Can’t afford dental work? Do the bulk of the preventative work at home. By brushing and flossing regularly and seeing your dentist when you have actual problems (like pain or sensitivity) you can save a ton of money down the road.
Find a Free or Low Cost Provider
It’s no secret that dental care can be expensive. Even with insurance, many procedures – such as crowns, bridges, and implants – can leave a dent (pun intended) in your wallet.
And for those without insurance, the cost of dental care can be downright prohibitive.
Fortunately, there are a number of free or low-cost providers who offer free dental work or cheap dental work so you won’t need to move in with your in-laws to save enough cash.
These providers include:
- Community Clinics – Low-cost or free dental care in addition to services such as fluoride treatments
- Non-profit Organizations – May also offer payment plans or sliding-scale fees.
- Dental Schools – Provide low-cost care for patients willing to be treated by students.
Some of the most popular programs include the Dental Lifeline Network and Smiles Change Lives.
These programs help to ensure that everyone has access to quality dental care, regardless of their ability to pay.
While the quality of care may vary, these providers can help you get the dental care you need at a price you can afford.
Tactic for Success
Contact your local or state dental society. Dental societies often have lists of dentists who provide discounts or free care to low-income patients. You can also check with your local community health center or public health department. These organizations sometimes provide dental care on a sliding scale, based on your income.
Use Care Credit and Other Discount Services
CareCredit is a great option for those who need to finance their dental care. CareCredit is a credit card that can be used for medical and dental expenses. It offers low-interest financing and flexible payment options.
You can apply for CareCredit online or at your dentist’s office. Once you are approved, you can use it to pay for dental treatments and procedures.
If you are considering using CareCredit to finance your dental care, be sure to ask your dentist about their policy on CareCredit payments.
Some dentists may require that you make a down payment with CareCredit before they begin treatment. Others may allow you to pay your bill in full with CareCredit
Trend on the Rise
CareCredit is accepted at more than 250,000 providers and is used by more than 11 million people. It’s not just for dental work, either – CareCredit can be used for other medical and cosmetic procedures and even for veterinary care!
Look Online for Discounts and Coupons
Many dental websites offer discounts or coupons for new customers. Also, many dental insurance plans have a list of preferred providers who offer discounts to patients with that insurance.
You can also look for dental discount plans. These plans are not insurance, but they do offer discounts on a variety of dental services.
You can usually find a list of participating dentists on the plan’s website.
Finally, some dentists offer their own discounts or special offers. Be sure to ask about these when you call to make an appointment.
Some places to look for dental discounts and coupons include:
- Groupon Discounts – Groupon often has deals for dental services, typically restricted to your local geographic area.
- Dental Plans.com – This is a comprehensive list of plans at participating dentists
- Coupon Cabin – Coupon Cabin also has a section devoted to dental coupons.
- Retail Me Not – Deals on dental (but it can be tough to find a participating provider)
- Cigna Dental Plans – Variety of dental insurance plans but also offers regular discounts.
Enroll in a Dental Discount Plan
Dental care can be expensive, but it’s important to maintain good oral health. One way to save money on dental care is to enroll in a dental discount plan.
Dental discount plans are not insurance, but they provide members with access to discounts on a wide range of dental services.
Most plans have an annual fee that entitles members to a certain percentage off the retail price of dental procedures.
Some plans also offer additional discounts on things like x-rays and cleanings.
Before enrolling in a plan, be sure to check that the plan is accepted by your dentist and that it offers discounts on the services you need. Enrolling in a dental discount plan is an easy way to save money on dental care.
Trend on the Rise
Dental discount codes and coupons are a popular way to save money on dental care. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 90% of Americans have used a discount code or coupon in the past year. Dental discount codes and coupons can be found in a variety of places, including online, in magazines, and even in the Sunday paper.
Participate in a Medical Dental Study
Medical dental studies are research studies that aim to improve dental care and/or oral health. They can help you pay for dental work by providing you with free or low-cost dental care.
In addition, participating in a study can help advance the state of dental care and oral health, which can benefit everyone.
Most medical dental studies require participants to undergo a screening process to determine their eligibility.
Once you are accepted into a study, you will be required to complete certain tasks, which may include filling out questionnaires, undergoing dental exams and x-rays, and providing blood and saliva samples.
The time commitment required for each study varies, but most studies last between one and two years.
If you are interested in participating in a medical dental study, talk to your dentist or doctor to see if you are eligible.
Use Government Resources
Dental work can be expensive, but there are a number of government resources that can help cover the cost.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage for low-income adults and children.
Many states provide dental coverage as part of their Medicaid programs, and some states also offer separate dental programs for adults.
In addition, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides dental coverage for low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid.
The federal government also offers a number of grant programs that can help cover the cost of dental care.
For example, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers grants to safety-net clinics that provide dental care to low-income patients.
If you need help paying for dental work, there are a number of government resources that can assist you.
Need to visit the dentist but not sure how you’ll pay for it?
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help – leave no stone unturned and you’re sure to find the help you need to keep your pearly whites healthy!
Rebekah is a writer who covers all things education, business, agriculture, and finance. She owns a small farm business in upstate New York. Her educational credentials include a bachelor's degree in English from St. Lawrence University and a master's in special education from SUNY Plattsburgh.