There are two government programs that provide dental insurance for those who can’t afford it: Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). What exactly is covered and what percent of costs/charges will be paid for by the plan varies from state to state. To see if you or your family qualifies, contact your state’s Medicaid or CHIP office or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
You can also contact the Bureau of Primary Health Care, which is part of the Health Resources and Services Administration. It helps finance community health centers that offer free (or low-cost) medical and dental care.
Your other options include seeking out local dental schools and dental hygienist schools. These schools have clinics where students (supervised by trained professionals, of course) gain experience treating patients. The services they offer are significantly discounted.Finally, remember that some of the best ways to take good care of your teeth are things you can do at home without a dentist’s help: make sure you brush well twice a day (for two minutes), floss, and eat nutritiously avoiding the five food felons. Also, drinking water fortified with fluoride is a great way to prevent tooth decay (note: two-thirds of public water supplies are fortified with fluoride!).