Top Dental Schools That Provide Cheap or Free Dental Work in Each State

How to Get Cheap or Free Dental Work at Dental Schools

Cost is the main reason why people in the United States do not get regular dental care. Some people cannot afford the out-of-pocket payments required for dental care or do not have public or private dental insurance.

Dental services are expensive. A routine visit for cleaning and an exam can set you back $200. If you have cavities that need to be filled, that'll cost you several hundred dollars. Braces and dentures can cost thousands.

For the average worker, this is a lot of money. For someone on a limited income, retired, out of work, or has no dental coverage, dental care takes the backseat. 

However, cheap or free dental care is available. With thorough research, patience, and a bit of luck, low-cost or free dental work is possible.  

How Does Low-Cost Care at Dental Schools Work? 

Dental schools are good sources of quality, low-cost dental treatment. Most dental schools run clinics where dental students provide dental services at reduced prices. This allows students to gain experience in treating patients. 

Dental schools offer dental treatment at half the price — or even less. Experienced and licensed dentists closely supervise the treatments, so appointments take longer than usual. This is because the supervisors have to check every step as the dental student works on you.

There are advantages and disadvantages associated with low-cost dental services. It's important to know what you're getting into so you get to make an informed decision.

Pros of dental schools:

  • Dental treatments are cheaper, usually with 50% discounts or more. This includes surgical procedures as well as preventive and restorative care.
  • Licensed dentists supervise the procedure, checking each step to ensure that things are done "by the book."
  • Dental schools are duly accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).
  • Some dental procedures are given for free.
  • You are assured of quality dental work.

Cons of dental schools:

  • You would have to wait for the availability of appointments.
  • Appointments and procedures take longer than they would at a private dentist's office.
  • Dental students are in training. This means that there's a higher risk for errors. However, because they are supervised by professionals, mistakes rarely occur.
  • There is a need for you to go on-campus to receive treatment personally. For those who live far, a commute is necessary.
  • Not all dental services are available at a dental school.

How to Become a Patient at a Dental School

To become a patient at a dental school, you must first undergo a screening procedure. This is to determine your suitability as a patient and if you will be able to teach dental students what they need to know for their practice.

Your needs should match with the student's training needs. If you are qualified, then you become a patient. You will be assigned to a dental student, where you'll receive the low-cost (or free) dental procedure that you need.

Some dental schools charge a non-refundable fee for the screening process. Not all dental schools do this, so it's best for you to check beforehand if there are pre-treatment fees that you need to settle.

Who Qualifies for Cheap Services at Dental Schools?

There are a lot of dental schools that offer dental services at reduced rates. The following groups of people qualify for cheap services at dental schools:

  • The elderly
  • People with disabilities
  • Mentally and medically compromised persons
  • Low-income individuals

Top Dental Schools to Get Low-Cost Dental Work (By State)

Most states offer low-cost dental services via dental schools. These programs are full of dental students who need hands-on training before graduation. 

The cost usually depends on the type of program that you choose. Most programs offer pre-doctoral, advanced, and allied dental education programs.

The following is a list of dental schools that offer low-cost dental work, organized by state. These are all accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA):

Alabama

University of Alabama School of Dentistry at UAB

1530 3rd Avenue S.

SDB 406

Birmingham

35294-0007

Arizona

A.T. Still University Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health

5850 East Still Circle

Mesa

85206

Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine- Arizona

19555 North 59th Avenue

Glendale

85308

California

California Northstate University College of Dental Medicine

9700 West Taron Drive

Elk Grove

95757

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California

925 W. 34th Street

Los Angeles

90089-6041

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry

11092 Anderson St.

Loma Linda

92350

University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry

Center for Health Science

Rm 53-038

10833 Le Conte Ave

Los Angeles

90095-1668

University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry

513 Parnassus Ave

S-630

San Francisco

94143

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry

155 5th Street

San Francisco

94103

Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine

College of Dental Medicine

Western University of Health Sciences

309 E. Second Street

Pomona

91766-185

Colorado

University of Colorado Denver School of Dental Medicine

School of Dental Medicine; Lazzara Center for Oral-Facial Health

13065 E. 17th Avenue

Mail Stop F831

Aurora

80045

Connecticut

University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine

263 Farmington Avenue

Farmington

06030-3915

Florida

LECOM College of Dental Medicine

4800 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard

Bradenton

34211

Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine

3200 S. University Drive

Fort Lauderdale

33328

University of Florida College of Dentistry

1600 SW Archer Rd.

Rm D4-6

P.O. Box 100405

Gainesville

32610-0405

Georgia

The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University

1430 John Wesley Gilbert Drive

Rm AD 5202

Augusta

30912-0200

Illinois

Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine- Illinois

555 31st Street

Downers Grove

60515

Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine

2800 College Avenue

Bldg 273/2300

Alton

62002

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry

801 South Paulina Street

Suite # 102

Chicago

60612

Indiana

Indiana University School of Dentistry

500 West University Blvd., UH-3145

Indianapolis

46202

Iowa

University of Iowa College of Dentistry

100 Dental Science Bldg.

Iowa City

52242

Kentucky

University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

800 Rose Street

D 136 UKMC

Lexington

40536-0297

University of Louisville School of Dentistry

501 S. Preston Street

Louisville

40292

Louisiana

Louisiana State University School of Dentistry

1100 Florida Avenue

New Orleans

70119-2799

Maine

University of New England College of Dental Medicine

Westbrook College Campus

716 Stevens Avenue

Portland

04103-2670

Maryland

University of Maryland School of Dentistry

650 W. Baltimore Street

Suite 6402

Baltimore

21201

Massachusetts

Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine

100 East Newton Street

Boston

02118

Harvard University School of Dental Medicine

188 Longwood Avenue

Boston

02115

Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

One Kneeland Street

Boston

02111

Michigan

University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry

2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd

(MB 98)

Detroit

48208-2576

University of Michigan School of Dentistry

1011 N. University Ave.

Ann Arbor

48109-1078

Minnesota

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

Room 15-209 Moos Tower

515 S.E. Delaware Street

Minneapolis

55455

Mississippi

University of Mississippi School of Dentistry

Medical Center;

2500 North State Street

Jackson

39216-4505

Missouri

Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health

Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health

800 W. Jefferson St.

Kirksville

63501

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry

650 East 25th Street

Kansas City

64108

Nebraska

Creighton University School of Dentistry

2109 Cuming Street

Omaha

68131

University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry

40th & Holdrege Streets

Lincoln

68583-0740

Nevada

University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine

Shadow Lane Campus

1001 Shadow Lane

MS 7410

Las Vegas

89106-4124

New Jersey

Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

110 Bergen St.;

Room B815

Newark

07103-2425

New York

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

630 West 168th Street

PH7 East Room 122

New York

10032

New York University College of Dentistry

345 East 24th Street

New York

10010

Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine

Health Sciences Center;

154 Rockland Hall

Stony Brook

11794-8700

Touro College of Dental Medicine at New York Medical College (NYMC)

19 Skyline Drive

Hawthorne

10532

University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine

325 Squire Hall;

3435 Main Street

Buffalo

14214-3008

North Carolina

East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine

1851 MacGregor Downs Road, Mail Stop 701

Greenville

27834-5925

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Koury Oral Health Sciences, Suite 1611

3/8 S. Columbia Street, Campus Box 7450

Chapel Hill

27599-7450

Ohio

Case Western Reserve Univ. School of Dental Medicine

10900 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland

44106-4905

Ohio State University College of Dentistry

305 West 12th Avenue

Columbus

43210-1267

Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry

1201 N. Stonewall Avenue

Oklahoma City

73117

Oregon

Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry

2730 SW Moody Avenue

Portland

97201-5042

Pennsylvania

Temple University The Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry

3223 North Broad Street

Philadelphia

19140

University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

240 South 40th Street;

Robert Shattner Center

Philadelphia

19104-6030

University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine

3501 Terrace Street

Pittsburgh

15261

South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine

173 Ashley Ave. MSC 507

PO Box 250507

Charleston

29425-5070

Tennessee

Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry

1005 D.B. Todd Blvd.

Nashville

37208

University of Tennessee College of Dentistry

University of Tennessee Health Science Ctr;

875 Union Avenue

Memphis

38163

Texas

Texas A&M University College of Dentistry

3302 Gaston Avenue

Dallas

75246

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

5001 El Paso Dr.

El Paso

79905

The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston

7500 Cambridge Street

Houston

77054

UT Health San Antonio, School of Dentistry

7703 Floyd Curl Drive

Mail Code 7914

San Antonio

78284-7914

Utah

Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine

10920 S. Riverfront Park

South Jordan

84095

University of Utah School of Dentistry

530 South Wakara Way

Salt Lake City

84108

Virginia

VCU School of Dentistry

P.O. Box 980566

520 North 12th Street

450 Lyons Building

Richmond

23298-0566

Washington

University of Washington School of Dentistry

1959 NE Pacific Street, B-530

Box 357480

Seattle

98195

West Virginia

West Virginia University School of Dentistry

Robert C. Byrd Health Sci Ctr.;

1150 HSC North/Medical Center Drive;

PO Box 9400

Morgantown

26506-9400

Wisconsin

Marquette University School of Dentistry

1801 W. Wisconsin Avenue

Milwaukee

53233

Other Ways to Get Free or Low-Cost Dental Work

Aside from dental school clinics, there are other ways to get free or low-cost dental care:

Public Dental Clinics

These are clinics run by community health centers or by local or state health departments and are funded by taxpayers. They usually charge low, fixed prices or sliding fees depending on how much the patient can afford to pay. 

These clinics provide dental services such as cleaning, exams, root canals, x-rays, crowns, fillings, and surgical tooth extraction.

Free Dental Clinics

Many faith-based groups, charities, and professional dental organizations organize free dental clinics. However, the waitlist can be quite long. 

Also, they usually have requirements as to who can qualify for free dental services. They either have income cutoffs or are exclusive to people with disabilities or the elderly.

Government Dental Coverage

There are three federally-funded programs where you can get free or low-cost dental care: Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP.

  • CHIP is for children without health insurance. It provides medical services to qualified children up to 19 years of age. Dental service coverage depends from state to state.
  • Medicaid is a state-run program providing medical and some dental benefits to eligible people and families. Each state has its own guidelines regarding eligibility and covered services. 
  • Medicare is a health insurance program for the elderly (65 years and older) and people with specific disabilities. Dental coverage, however, is limited. Dentures and most routine dental care services are not covered.

Dental Savings Plans

These are less expensive alternatives to dental insurance and are available for individuals and families. 

Also called dental discount plans, dental savings plans offer discounted rates for dental treatments and services provided by orthodontists, oral surgeons, and dentists within their network. 

A monthly or annual fee (about $100 to $200 per year) is required to receive a 10 to 60 percent discount on dental care.

Resources

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General.” National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000.

"Disparities in Oral Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Where Can I Find Low-Cost Dental Care?.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Search for Dental Programs.” Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Finding Dental Care.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Low-Cost Dental Care.” New Hampshire Dental Society. 

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