No one should ever have to hide their smile. However, this is the unfortunate reality for millions of people that cannot afford dental bills that can sometimes become expensive. This is more so the case for the older generation that requires regular dental checkups and treatment.
If you cannot afford the high costs of dental treatments, do not worry. There are a few dental financial assistance programs available to finance various dental procedures. You, too, can benefit from these programs.
This post reveals some of the best resources to help you regain your brilliant smile and confidence without incurring a financial burden.
What Are Dental Assistance Programs?
Dental assistance programs are structures put in place by the government or charitable organizations to help individuals that qualify to reduce the cost of their dental treatments. In some cases, these dental assistance programs may even fully cater to the costs.
These dental assistance programs often target specific people, including children, teenagers, adults, or seniors. However, you may also get other dental assistance programs that target people based on their professions, such as programs designed specifically for veterans.
7 Financial Assistance Options For Dental Work
There are various ways you can use to get financial assistance for your dental treatment. However, it can sometimes be tricky knowing which programs are designed for you or that can assist you in paying for your dental services.
Below, we uncover the top seven ways you can get financial assistance for your dental needs:
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans, also known as dental savings plans, offer a more affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance.
With dental insurance assistance programs, you can get massive discounts on preventive and restorative dental treatments, which you can find from a large network of registered service providers.
To get started, you only have to register for a dental discount plan and subscribe to it by paying a small annual fee.
You can start by going through our list of some of the best dental discount plans.
There are a few government dental assistance programs that can assist you in reducing your dental financial burden. These governmental dental care assistance programs include:
- Medicare: Medicare is one of the common elderly dental assistance programs that are helpful to people over 65, also known as seniors.
Although you may not get dental coverage with the basic Medicare plan, some Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) can offer dental coverage
- Medicaid: Medicaid is a government health insurance program for people below a certain income level. Medicaid is one of the most popular dental assistance programs for low-income earners and is administered by each state. However, it varies on who and what is covered.
Depending on your state, you may get dental coverage, especially if you are below 21. Those above 21 may only be eligible for a limited number of emergency dental services.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) also depends on individual states. However, children can get free dental services until they hit 19.
Dental schools are some of the other popular options to get dental assistance programs. Student dentists can offer you dental services at a significantly reduced cost. Do not worry, though, as each step is done under the close supervision of their trainers or professors.
Students use this opportunity to get more skills as they work on real people, while patients enjoy dental services at greatly reduced prices.
However, the catch is that procedures may take longer than necessary. This is because each step must be monitored and approved by the supervisor before moving forward. At times, they may even pause to go through some theories before proceeding.
Nevertheless, getting dental assistance from dental schools may still be worth checking out.
Clinical trials are a good example of dental assistance programs for adults. They may become a good go-to solution, especially for someone with an underlying condition that may be causing their oral health issues.
The patient assists in the research, which is why most of these trials are free. However, you may be at risk of potential side effects, as you will be exposed to drugs and procedures that the FDA has not yet approved. This will be explained to you during the informed consent process.
Dental grants may offer partial or full coverage of expensive dental treatments. While most of these grants can be life-changing, most come with a list of requirements or qualifications for one to be eligible for coverage.
Each dental grant has its own requirements, meaning you may have to watch out for one that can cater to your needs if you qualify. Some of the most popular dental grants include:
- The Cosmetic Dentistry Grants Program that offers dental implant financial assistance.
- The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry finances dental work for women survivors of domestic abuse. Through their Give Back a Smile program available in the US and Canada, such women can get dental procedures for free.
Charities offering financial dental assistance
There are a number of charities where you can get free dental assistance programs for dental work. You can get financial assistance for various dental procedures and treatments, including braces and other requirements that insurance may not usually cover.
Some of the organizations that may help include:
- Smile Change Lives: This organization was established in 1997 to offer financial assistance to a specified group of youth in need of braces. This is one of the best dental assistance programs for braces globally.
There may be potentially longer waiting times and other requirements, such as the benefactor being younger than 21. This charity may also not fully cover the cost of braces, but it can lower it significantly.
- Dental Lifeline Network: The Dental Lifeline Network enables the elderly, the disabled, and those with medical needs to access dentures.
You can get assistance from clinics on this network, and as long as you meet the required criteria, you can significantly minimize the financial burden of getting dentures.
Dental Financing offers people seeking financial assistance with their dental treatments. There are a few options available that you can use.
However, keep in mind that these dental financing programs require you to first make an application and wait to be approved. For some, there are various restrictions that you may have to put in mind.
Some of the most common dental financing options include:
- Care credit offers dental financing for just about any type of dental work you may require. It also helps to reduce the costs of treatment for your family if added to your subscription.
In most cases, you may enjoy interest-free financing during promotional periods, while in some cases, you may get financing at up to 27% interest rates.
- Dental discount cards offer a less expensive alternative to dental insurance. They work by collecting an annual membership fee in exchange for reduced dental treatment rates through their network.
Cost of Common Dental Treatments (With & Without Insurance)
Dental insurance for adults can be quite costly for most people. In fact, one of the main reasons why most of those without dental insurance don’t have it is the cost associated with it. However, getting dental treatments without insurance is also costly.
Every aspect of dental work, from preventive, curative, and restorative services, is expensive, so getting insurance, in the long run, might be financially sound.
So, how much do these services cost, anyway?
Here is a quick overview of some common dental treatments and their cost, with and without insurance.
Most dental insurers cover at least half, if not more, of dental various gum disease treatments. When paying out of pocket, you can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for treatment, which costs from $50 to $150 when using dental insurance.
A root canal treatment may be quite expensive without insurance. This is because there are many variables involved, including the location and the dentist. Nevertheless, you can expect to pay $800 to $1,800 without insurance and between $200 and $1,200 with insurance.
Dental implants are sometimes covered by insurance as long as they are deemed medically necessary.
Although they may be more expensive than dentures, they are usually a good investment as they last longer, and you may not need a replacement for several years. Fortunately, you can also find some good cheap dental implants.
With insurance, you can get a dental implant for $500 - $2,500. You can even expect to pay much lower with dental implant assistance programs.
However, the pricing usually shoots up without insurance, as you may have to pay between $2,500 and $5,000.
The cost of dental bridges varies based on several factors, including the materials used. For instance, you may have to pay more for porcelain bridges than a metal one. A dental bridge without insurance can take you back up to $2,000, while you may only have to pay $300 - $1,000 with dental insurance.
The cost of tooth extractions depends on each specific case, including the additional requirements for the procedure, such as anesthesia. Tooth extractions can cost up to $600 without insurance, while you may only have to pay from $50 - $300 with insurance.
There are various types of dental dentures, and depending on your unique case and preferences, you may pay from $600 to $10,000. In most cases, dental insurance covers 50% of the total denture cost.
In most cases, dental insurance may not pay for braces, as it is considered a cosmetic procedure. However, if deemed medically necessary by your dentist, your insurer may cover up to 50% of the total cost. The best orthodontic insurance providers may pay for more or even fully.
If looking for braces alternatives for cosmetic purposes, you can go through comprehensive clear aligners cost comparison to make a more informed choice.
You can get free dental treatment regardless of your age, depending on the dental assistance program you use. Some programs allow children up to 19 years to get free dental treatment, while dental assistance programs for seniors allow those over 65 to access dental services.
The best thing to do is first to create a list of dental schools in your region and contact them to find out if they are taking in new patients.
The best way to reduce the high cost of dental treatments would be to get dental insurance. While insurance can partially or fully pay for your treatment, you can also consider other dental assistance programs, like discount plans, grants, and charities.
You can easily find dental assistance programs near you by conducting a quick online search, inputting the various types of programs, and your location on the search bar.