Updated on February 7, 2024
6 min read

Dental Grants: What They Pay For and How To Apply

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Although dental work can be costly, delaying treatment may be detrimental to your oral health. If you need a dental procedure but are concerned about the cost, a dental grant may be the answer.

From basic dentistry services to dental implants, a dental grant can provide financial assistance for the dental work you need. This applies to general and cosmetic dentistry procedures.

In this article, we explain dental grants, who can apply for them, and what dental procedures they cover.

What Are Dental Grants?

A dental grant enables a qualifying person to receive financial assistance for dental work. There are grants available for general and cosmetic dentistry procedures, including implants.

Receiving dental implants is a widely accepted way to improve their oral health and self-confidence. However, a single dental implant costs about $4,500. Additionally, implant dentistry is considered a cosmetic procedure, so most insurance companies won’t cover it.

A grant differs from a loan in that you don’t have to repay grant funding. However, an applicant must still pay for part of the overall cost. The exact amount to be paid will vary, depending on the type of dental grant and the dental practitioner’s cost of services.

What Procedures Do Dental Grants Cover?

The types of procedures covered may vary based on the type of grant. For example, basic dentistry services aren’t covered by a cosmetic dentistry grant.

If you get a grant for a cosmetic dentistry procedure, you may have to pay for dental work that needs to be done beforehand. This includes dental cleanings, fillings, and root canals.

Consult your chosen dental practitioner to confirm the guidelines you must observe to be eligible for a dental grant.

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How Do Dental Grants Work?

Dental grants reduce the overall cost of dental care for qualified and approved individuals. Applicants for the grant receive financial assistance for the dental cost but are still obligated to co-pay the reduced amount through credit, savings, or other means.

A person’s eligibility will vary depending on the type of grant provided. While clinics will have different processes to accept applicants, it will generally include asking for the following:

  • Applicant’s dental history
  • Type of dental procedure needed
  • Applicant’s availability to receive treatment

The information above is collected through an enrolment form or follow-up consultations with the participating dental practitioner.

Where Can You Get Dental Grants?

Various organizations offer dental grants, including:

  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Private foundations

How to Apply for Dental Grants

Most grants are free to apply, but application details and eligibility criteria vary based on the type of grant. Here are common categories for different dentistry grants:

Dental Grants for Seniors

Several cosmetic and implant dentistry grants are available for low-income seniors, including the Cosmetic Dentistry Grants program detailed below.

Grants that cover basic dental services vary from state to state. Typically, grant funding goes directly to the provider clinic. This funding allows a certified dental practitioner to provide free or low-cost professional services to low-income adults over age 62.

Check with your local health center to find a participating dentist or dental clinic in your area. 

Dental Grants for Veterans

The Dental Lifeline Network is a great resource for veterans seeking basic dental care, but they don’t cover cosmetic dentistry work. Similar to grants for seniors, resources vary from state to state.

This organization receives grant funding from several foundations, including the ADA Foundation. The Dental Lifeline Network allocates the funds to participating dentists who provide comprehensive oral health care.

Dental Grants for People with Disabilities

In addition to providing dental care to veterans, The Dental Life Network also serves people with permanent disabilities and adults over age 65. To find potential dental resources in your area, go to their website and click on your state.

Dental Grants for Low-Income Groups

Various organizations offer grants that help provide dental care to children with limited resources. The application process and eligibility criteria are different for each.

Grants for low-income groups include:

  • Smiles Change LivesThis program partners with orthodontists to help cover the cost of braces so your child can have a confident smile.
  • Access to Care — This American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry grant is awarded annually to community-based health initiatives that provide care to underserved children.
  • Samuel Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health — This ADA grant seeks to improve children’s oral health by funding community outreach and education.

Most grants provide funding to participating dentists and advocacy programs. Check with your local community health center to find a participating dental practitioner.

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What Is the Cosmetic Dentistry Grants Program?

The Cosmetic Dentistry Grants (CDG) program provides partial funding for cosmetic dentistry treatment, including implants. Like the grants described above, CDG funds are awarded to the dental clinic and not the person applying.

How to Apply for a Cosmetic Dentistry Grant

CDG grants are free to apply for and open to anyone wanting to improve their smile. To be eligible for consideration, you must prove that your mouth is healthy enough to support the cosmetic treatment plan you desire.

Here’s how to apply:

  1. Submit a request for funding on their website
  2. A dentist in your area provides you with a free oral health assessment
  3. The dentist determines if you’re a good candidate for cosmetic treatment
  4. If deemed eligible, the examining dentist will provide you with a treatment plan
  5. If you don’t qualify, the dentist will still recommend the necessary treatment

How Do CDG Grants Work?

If the CDG determines you’re a qualified applicant, they will award a partial grant. Upon acceptance of the grant, you can immediately begin the recommended treatment with your CDG dentist.

You can only receive treatment from the dentist you were assigned to or another participating dentist in the CDG program.

What Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures Do CDG Grants Cover?

CDG grants help pay for cosmetic and implant dentistry. Your treatment plan may include any of the following elective procedures:

CDG grants don’t cover general dentistry services, such as cleanings and fillings. If these procedures are necessary before your desired cosmetic procedure, you will have to pay for them yourself.

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Who Should Consider Applying for a Dental Grant?

CDG grants are available to anyone who wants to add confidence to their smile with dental implants or a cosmetic procedure.

Government grants may be awarded to dental professionals and organizations in good standing with the respective governing body.


Dental grants help people pay for essential dentistry services and elective cosmetic procedures, such as dental implants. Anyone who wants to boost their self-confidence and promote their oral health can apply for a cosmetic dentistry grant.

Grants that help with basic dental services are available for veterans, people with disabilities, older adults, and low-income groups. Funds are awarded to dental offices, not to the person applying for the grant.

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Last updated on February 7, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 7, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. The Cosmetic Dentistry Grants Program.” Cosmetic Dentistry Grants.
  2. State Programs.” Dental Lifeline Network.
  3. Dental Grants.” Grants for Seniors.
  4. Dental Care.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  5. American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation.” Give Back a Smile, AACD Charitable Foundation.
  6. Ham, R. “United Way doubling free eye care, dental clinic services.” United Way, 2016.
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