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Research shows that dental care presents the highest financial barriers compared to other types of health care.6 Luckily, various dental assistance programs are available to finance dental procedures. There are even ways to receive dental care for free for qualified patients.
This article explains 11 ways to get financial assistance for dental work and other ways to help pay for dental care. It also covers average costs for common dental procedures with and without insurance.
An estimated 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance coverage.2 For those without dental insurance, there are various financial assistance options for dental care, including:
Dental discount plans are also known as dental savings plans. They're an affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance.
With a dental discount 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 dentists, depending on your plan provider.
You'll be offered ten to 60% savings on preventative and restorative treatments. For more information, visit https://www.dentalplans.com/.
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.
A cosmetic dentistry grant can help qualifying people pay for cosmetic and implant dentistry procedures. However, the dentists affiliated with the program pay a fee for each patient they are referred to.
The Donated Dental Services (DDS) program partners with participating dentists to provide free dental treatment to vulnerable populations. Those who qualify for the program may not need to pay for dental work.
To qualify for a DDS, you must meet one of the following:
Some counties also provide services to veterans.
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 you may not get with other cards.
Care Credit can be used for the following dentistry services:
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.
Since the program's inception, many volunteer dentists have provided their skills and expertise to restore damaged teeth. It has restored the smiles of over 2,000 people.
United Way is a network of nonprofit fundraising affiliates. It connects low-income or otherwise qualifying patients with free or low-cost dental care.
These three programs provide dental services to various qualifying people. These include:
Dental schools can be a good option to find quality, reduced-cost dental treatment for dental students. This allows students to gain knowledge and experience.
These dental schools offer many of the same services that a regular dental clinic offers. There's also no risk because experienced dentists supervise the students.
Dental hygiene schools also offer supervised, low-cost preventive dental care as part of the training experience for dental hygienists. It's similar to getting dental work done at a dental school, but they offer different services.
Public dental clinics are community-based and patient-directed organizations. They deliver primary health care services to vulnerable individuals and families that are:
The Health Resources & Services Organization funds these clinics. They serve one out of 11 people in the United States.
Medical researchers often seek volunteers with specific dental conditions to participate in research studies. These studies are also known as clinical trials.
Qualifying participants receive limited free or low-cost dental treatment during a clinical trial for the researched condition.
There are other ways to help finance your dental procedures without using dental assistance programs. These include:
Many credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR period on purchases. You won’t pay any interest on your charges for a certain number of months.
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.
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, such as GoFundMe, to pay for your dental work.6
Dental loans can be used to pay for dental procedures. These loans can fund any type of dental work, including:4,5
Dental fillings are usually partially or fully covered by insurance. The price of dental fillings varies depending on the type of material used.
Here are the average price ranges for fillings (per tooth):
|With Insurance||$10 to $50|
|Without Insurance||$150 to $450|
Most dental insurance plans cover at least half, if not more, of dental scaling and root planing treatment.
Here are the average price ranges for scaling and root planing (per quadrant):
|With Insurance||$50 to $150|
|Without Insurance||$140 to $300|
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 depend on various factors, such as:
The average costs for root canal treatment are:
|With Insurance||$200 to $500|
|Without Insurance||$300 to $2,000|
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 dental implants cost more upfront than dentures, they are less likely to need replacement.
Average costs of dental implants include:
|With Insurance||$1,500 to $2,000|
|Without Insurance||$3,500 to $4,500|
The cost of dental bridges varies depending on the materials used. You will pay more for an all-porcelain bridge than a metal or porcelain-fused one.
Average costs include:
|With Insurance||$300 to $1,000|
|Without Insurance||$1,500 to $16,000|
The cost of a tooth extraction depends on each specific case and whether surgery and anesthesia are required.
Average costs include:
|With Insurance||$26 to $145|
|Without Insurance||$219 to $4,000|
Dentures cost from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the quality of the dentures. Dentures are considered a major procedure. They are generally covered at 50% by dental insurance.
A dental cleaning can cost between $15 to $50 with insurance. It can cost between $75 to $200 with no insurance.
A gum graft costs between $600 to $1,200 on average. Most insurance plans cover this procedure entirely because it is deemed medically necessary.
Braces can range from $3,000 to $6,000, depending on the type of braces, which include:
Braces are often not covered by insurance. This is because they are considered orthodontic or cosmetic treatments. Still, insurance may cover braces at least partially in certain circumstances when deemed medically necessary. 1
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