Where can I find low-cost dental care?

Find yourself wondering "Where can I find low-cost dental care?"  Indeed many resources exist.

Available resources for low-cost dental care include the following:  local health departments, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, Give Kids a Smile, dental schools, clinical trials, state and local resources, United Way, Mission of Mercy, Dental Lifeline, and a way to search on your own.

Of course this article provides information on each of these resources.

If  you have a medical emergency call 911.
For urgent dental situations contact a 24 Hour Dentist near you.  Or even a Walk in Dentist Near You pediatric dentist, sedation dentist, or Sunday Dentist Near You.  For root canal issues contact an Endodontist Near You or an Oral Surgeon Near You.  All of these resources are available 24 hours a day to discuss your low-cost dental care needs.

Low cost dental care

Low-cost dental care programs

The Health Resources and Services Administration in particular has a nationwide program providing free or reduced cost dental care.  The program is run by The Bureau of Primary Health Care.  You can certainly search for their federally-funded community health centers.

Another searchable list is run by Oral Health America, a non-profit group.  Most important their nationwide directory of affordable dental programs may be found at Toothwisdom.org.  Specifically, the directory includes health department clinics and federally qualified health centers.

Low-cost dental care programs

Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIPS

Unemployed or work but earn income below set levels?  One vital resource to check is Medicaid.  Equally important for families including children up to age 19 is the related program Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Generally Medicaid does not charge insurance premiums in most states.  Roughly 15 states offer limited dental benefits and further approximately 15 states cover extensive dental treatments.

Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIPS are administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  Information on these three federally funded programs follows.

Medicare is generally for people who are retired or have specific disabilities.  The dental coverage  provided by Medicare is particularly limited in nature.  For example, dentures and most routine dental care are not covered under the plan.

Medicaid is generally for people who have income below a set amount.  This is a state run program so eligibility and benefits will vary from state to state.

Some states do include dental benefits for people meeting the income requirements.  Some states provide quite comprehensive coverage for people over age 21 while other states cover limited emergency dental services.

Significantly, dental services for most people under age 21 are covered under Medicaid.

CHIP is generally for children meeting income criteria up to age 19 and covers more than 7 million children.    CHIP provides coverage to U.S. citizens and eligible immigrants.

This programs includes health care coverage and in a majority of states dental services to qualifying children.  Each state runs its own program and must be contacted for individual coverage information.

To learn more about low-cost dental care from these programs contact CMS (1-800-MEDICARE).  They can help describe the available coverage and direct you to find out more about your state program.

Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPS

Program for Children

The Give Kids A Smile program provides low-cost dental care for children.  The ADA started this national program started in 2003.  It has helped more than 6 million children.  These services are donated by volunteers including 7,000 dentists.

To find out about a program in your area call Give Kids A Smile at their toll free phone number 1-844-490-GKAS.

Dental Schools

Two types of schools provide quality, reduced-cost dental treatment.

The first, Dental hygiene schools (American Dental Hygienists' Association), provides preventative dental care, such as teeth cleaning.  This program provides supervised training for the dental hygienists.

The second, Dental schools (American Dental Association), provides supervised training that may include more complex treatment.  Most of the schools found in the accompanying websites list offer low-cost treatment in their clinics.  Your case will indeed be supervised by an experienced and licensed dentist.

Dental Schools

Clinical Trials provide low-cost dental care

Clinical trials can serve as a resource for dental treatment.  It is necessary to know that the care provided by the trial will depend on what is being studied.  When reaching out, be sure to ask if the treatment you need will be provided by their clinical trial.

With this in mind, a clinical trial is a research study of a specific dental condition.  Volunteers with the condition being studied may receive free or low-cost dental care.

The National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) maintains a list of its clinical trials open to volunteers.

You may visit ClinicalTrials.gov to find all of the clinical trails currently underway that are receiving federal funding.

Many of the clinical trials take place in Bethesda, Maryland.  If this location is convenient, you may by all means call the Clinical Center's Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office using their toll free number at 1-800-411-1222.

Clinical Trials provide low-cost dental care

State and Local Resources for low-cost dental care

Your state’s Health Department may have information that will help your search for free or reduced-cost dental care.  The CDC provides information for the Health Departments of all 50 states in this list.

Call  your health department and tell them you would like to receive information on their financial assistance programs for dental care.

Dentistry from the heart

Dentistry from the heart is a non-profit that provides free dental care.  Dentists donate their time and equipment in support of this mission.

Find out more about their upcoming events here on their calendar.

United Way

The United Way has a number of contacts who provide free or reduced-cost dental services in your community.  You will of course find information on your local United Way chapter on their website.

Mission of Mercy

Mission of Mercy provides free dental care to patients in Arizona, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas.  People in these states can find out more on their website.

Dental Lifeline

Dental Lifeline offers free dental care in all 50 states.  Eligibility requires patients to meet at least one of the following:  people over age 65, or permanent disabilities, or qualify as medically fragile.


NeedyMeds provides a searchable list of over 4,000 clinics providing low-cost dental services.  You may search here.

We hope these resources help you locate low-cost dental care near you.