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Financial Assistance for Dental Work

Kyra Willans Headshot
Written by
Kyra Willans
Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Erica Anand
6 Sources Cited

What to Do if You Can’t Afford a Dentist

If you can’t afford a dentist, you shouldn’t worry.

There are a variety of options available to finance dental procedures. There are even ways to receive dental care for free for qualified patients.

Average Costs of Common Dental Treatments (With & Without Insurance)

Fillings

Dental fillings are usually partially or fully covered by insurance.

The price of dental fillings varies depending on the type of material used. For example, silver or composite. Dental fillings cost between $10 to $50 with insurance. They cost $150 to $450 without insurance.

Gum disease treatment (scaling and root planing)

Most dental insurance plans cover at least half, if not more, of dental scaling and root planing treatment. This gum disease treatment costs between $50 to $150 with insurance. It costs between $150 to $300 without insurance.

Root canal and crown

Root canal treatment is recommended for a tooth that is severely damaged or infected and needs to be replaced.

The prices of root canal treatment various factors. For example, the dentist, location, and condition of the tooth. Root canal treatment costs between $200 to $1,500 with insurance. It costs between $700 to $1,800 without insurance.

Dental implants

Dental implants are sometimes covered by insurance.

This depends on whether or not they are deemed medically necessary. Implants can be a good long-term investment in oral health. While implants cost more upfront than dentures, they are less likely to need replacement.

The average cost of a dental implant is $1,000 to $3,000 with insurance. Or a dental implant costs between $2,000 to $4,500 without insurance.

Dental bridge

The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the materials used.

Patients will pay more for an all-porcelain bridge than for a metal or porcelain-fused bridge.

A dental bridge can cost between $300 and $1,000 per tooth with insurance. A dental bridge can cost $1,500 per tooth without insurance.

Tooth extraction

The cost of a tooth extraction depends on each specific case and whether surgery and anesthesia are required.

Basic tooth removal costs between $75 to $300 with insurance. It costs up to $600 without insurance

Dentures

Dentures cost from $600 to $8,000, depending on the quality of the dentures. Dentures are considered a major procedure. They are generally covered at 50% by dental insurance. 

Dental cleanings

A dental cleaning can cost between $50 to $200 with insurance. It can cost between $75 to $400 with no insurance.

Gum graft

A gum graft costs between $700 to $1,300 on average. Most insurance plans cover this procedure entirely because it is deemed medically necessary.

Braces

Braces can range from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the type of braces.

For example, there are metal, ceramic, or lingual brace options. Braces are often not covered by insurance. This is because they are considered an orthodontic or cosmetic treatment. Still, insurance may cover braces at least partially in certain circumstances when deemed medically necessary. 1

11 Financial Assistance Options for Dental Work

An estimated 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance coverage.

For those without dental insurance, there are various financial assistance options for dental care, including:2

  • Local health departments
  • Dental schools
  • Clinical trials
  • State and local resources

1. Dental Discount Plans

Dental discount plans are also known as dental savings plans. They are an affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance. 

With a discount dental plan, you pay an annual fee and receive discounts on dental services throughout the membership course. 

After you sign up, you’ll have access to a nationwide network of over 140,000 dentists. You'll be offered ten to 60 percent savings on preventative and restorative treatments.

For more information, visit https://www.dentalplans.com/

2. Cosmetic Dentistry Grant (CDG) Program

The Cosmetic Dentistry Grants (CDG) Program is owned by the Oral Aesthetic Advocacy Group Inc (OAAG). This research, information, and funding organization was founded in 2010 by dental practitioners and industry professionals.

CDG helps certain qualifying people pay for cosmetic dentistry procedures. It's a not-for-profit organization. However, the dentists affiliated with the program pay a fee for each patient they are referred to.

3. Donated Dental Services (DDS)

The Donated Dental Services (DDS) program is a means by which dentists provide free dental treatment to vulnerable people who cannot afford necessary treatment or get public aid. 

4. Care Credit

Care Credit is a healthcare credit card. It can be used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by medical insurance. The Care Credit card also offers special financing options that you may not get with other cards.

Care Credit can be used for the following dentistry services:

  • Preventative treatments
  • Restorative procedures
  • Cosmetic dentistry 

5. Give Back a Smile Program

The Give Back a Smile Program is a means by which volunteer cosmetic dentists donate their time and services to restore the smiles of domestic abuse victims.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry sponsors the program. It has been used to restore the smiles of over 1,800 people to date.

6. United Way (Free Dental Clinics) 

United Way is a network of nonprofit fundraising affiliates.

It connects low-income or otherwise qualifying patients with free or low-cost dental care.

7. Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP 

Medicare is a health insurance program for people who are either 65 years and older or have specific disabilities. 

Medicaid is a state-run program that provides dental benefits to eligible individuals and families. 

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides medical coverage and dental services to children up to age 19 who qualify.3

8. Discount Treatment at Dental Schools 

Dental schools can be a good option to find quality, reduced-cost dental treatment from dental students. Experienced dentists supervise the students. 

9. Discount Treatment at Dental Hygiene Schools

Dental hygiene schools also offer supervised, low-cost preventive dental care as part of the training experience for dental hygienists.

10. Public Dental Clinics 

Public dental clinics are community-based and patient-directed organizations.

They deliver primary health care services to vulnerable individuals and families that are:

  • Comprehensive
  • Culturally competent
  • High-quality

The Health Resources & Services Organization funds these clinics. They serve one out of 11 people in the United States.

11. Clinical Trials

Medical researchers often seek volunteers with specific dental conditions to participate in research studies. These studies are also known as clinical trials.

During a clinical trial, qualifying participants receive limited free or low-cost dental treatment for the researched condition.

Can You Get a Loan for Dental Work? 

Dental loans can be used to pay for dental procedures.

These loans can fund any type of dental work including:4,5

  • Dental emergencies
  • Planned cosmetic work
  • Other procedures

Other Ways to Get Help with Dental Costs

  • 0% APR Credit Cards — Many credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR period on purchases. For a certain number of months, you won’t pay any interest on the charges you make.
  • Negotiate your bill — You may be able to negotiate the total cost of treatment with your dentist before committing. If you’re uninsured, some dentists may offer a discount to help their uninsured patients afford the cost of care.
  • Ask your community for help —  If you’re struggling to find financing for your dental care, your friends and family may be able to lend you money. Or they may donate to a crowdfunding campaign to pay for your dental work.6
Last updated on April 22, 2022
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 22, 2022
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).
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