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How do I find free dental clinics?

When looking for free dental care, try contacting your local or state dental society to see if there are any free dental clinics in your area or any upcoming treatment programs such as Missions of Mercy (MOM) or Remote Area Medical (RAM) events. Another option for lower-cost dental care is dental school clinic. Generally, dental costs in school clinics are reduced and may include only partial payment for professional services covering the cost of materials and equipment.

Dental disease is almost entirely preventable and untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve, and tooth loss. Infection from tooth disease can even spread to other parts of the body and in rare cases, can lead to death. You can practice preventive dentistry on yourself by adopting these healthy habits: Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss between teeth.

Stephen P. Simpson, DDS
Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics

Contact the local or state branch of the American Dental Association, which should be easy to find in a Google search or in the phone book. The staff will be happy to direct you to free or very low cost dental service providers in your area. Generally, more options are available for children than for adult patients, but all patients should pursue care at a dental facility instead of a medical emergency site, which may only be able to provide pharmacy support instead of definitive treatment.

Romesh Nalliah
Dentist

The two best resources that can help anyone find free (or inexpensive) dental care are your local dental society (http://www.ada.org/statelocalorg.aspx) and your local dental school (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dental_schools_in_the_United_States). 

Dental societies often run programs or support programs that provide free (or inexpensive) care. Dental schools provide inexpensive care by students who are supervised by a licensed dentist. Additionally, Dental schools regularly run programs and clinical research studies that may provide free dental care.

There are clinics that offer free or very low-cost dental care. Contact your local or state health department to get a list. The United Way may also be able to suggest clinics that offer dental services for free. Dental schools and dental hygiene schools, where experienced professionals closely supervise the students, can be excellent sources of high-quality, low-cost dental treatment.

The Bureau of Primary Health Care, Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Programs) are government programs that may offer free dental care in your area. Call the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for information about other programs that offer free or low-cost dental care.

The best way is to contact your local, state dental organizations. They often have lists of free clinics or programs in which their members participate.

Free dental care may be found in government dental clinics (often locally run), non-profit agency dental facilities and special programs coordinated with local, state or national dental societies. Periodically Mission of Mercy in cooperation with local dentists will provide free care in a variety of regions.

Low cost care may also be an option and is usually found in the following settings:

  • Dental schools
  • Teaching hospital clinics
  • Government clinics, often locally run
  • Non-profit agency dental facilities
  • Junior college clinics where assistants and hygienists are often trained.
  • Private offices that participate with state-assisted dental programs

As important as it is to find affordable care, it is equally, if not more, important to practice good oral hygiene to minimize potential problems that may increase costs. Information regarding proper home care techniques can be found in other sharecare.com answers and elsewhere online.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.