Most adults will need dental care at some point in their lives, but many don’t have dental insurance. This forces the majority of adults to go without needed dental care, which poses a hazard for both their oral health and their physical health. However, dental care is expensive, and many can’t afford the out-of-pocket expense. A routine exam and dental cleaning can cost upward of $200. Fillings can cost several hundred dollars. Braces and dentures can cost several thousand dollars, which is out of the question for many adults, particularly those who are retired.

Need Affordable Dental Care?

If you need affordable dental care but lack dental insurance, you have alternatives. Read on to learn more about how to get affordable dental treatments that can save your physical health as well as your oral health.

Dental Clinics

There are several types of dental clinics available to the public at little or no cost, such as:

Free Dental Clinics

Since there are so many people who need dental care, many free dental clinics have long waiting lists for service. Others have eligibility requirements, such as disabled people, seniors, or specific medical conditions. These clinics are usually operated by churches, charitable organizations, or professional dental organizations.

Dental Schools

There are at least two dental schools or dental hygienist schools in each state. You might have to travel some distance to get there, but they offer clinics that are open to the public. Every student must have a minimum number of hours of hands-on training before they graduate, so this is an excellent source for affordable dental treatments. Each school sets its own rate, but the cost is usually very affordable. Since the students are in training, your treatment may take longer than it would in a dental office, but it will be done correctly. An internet search for the Commission on Dental Accreditation will provide a list of schools in each state.

Public Dental Clinics

Public dental clinics are operated by state and local public health departments or by grants from the federal government. Many charge on a sliding scale, which means that you pay according to your income. Services available usually include:

  • Cleanings
  • Dental exams
  • Fillings and crowns
  • X-rays
  • Root canals
  • Extractions

Some clinics may have an on-call emergency dental service. Authority Dental is a non-profit group that lists affordable dental clinics that are operated by health departments or federally funded centers.

Donated Dental Services

Dental Lifeline is available to those 65 and older in every state. Those who are disabled or have severe medical conditions may also qualify, and there’s a separate section for low-income children who need orthodontic treatments. The America’s Dentists Care Foundation provides two-day dental clinics at various locations throughout the state. Although some are open to adults only, others accept children. The website lists locations and dates for upcoming clinics.

Private Dentists

Some dentists may donate a few free treatments each year. Especially if you’re a long-time patient but need treatment that you can’t afford, ask your dentist if you might qualify for free or reduced-rate treatment.