I went about 10 years without seeing a dentist, and I never properly brushed and flossed. This resulted in a medical condition that caused the tooth decay and required dental implants. I had absolutely no money to fund the treatment and I couldn’t leave because it was too painful. It is a tough spot to be in when you do not have the savings or insurance because untreated dental work can result in debilitating, serious pain in the future.
Luckily, the university I was studying in had a free dental clinic services for routine checkups, filling, etc. I used their services, but getting a regular appointment was so difficult that sometimes I had to wait for hours. I had no money, so I had no choice.
But, it isn’t the same today!
Patients nowadays have a lot more choices than there were a decade ago. They can take help of local healthcare communities, go for patient financing, travel abroad, etc. In this post, we have listed 5 different ways to get the dental work (minor or major) completed even without any significant savings or dental insurance.
University’s Dental Care
Let us begin with how I got my teeth fixed. This option might be contradicting to many because the treatment is performed by the student (or students) under the supervision of a professor. However, as per my experience, it was the safest procedure. My initial checkup was free, and my co-pays for exams thereafter were only like $5 (it was 10 years ago). I was treated by a 4th-year dentistry student and one instructor doctor. The student was doing the work and the instructor was examining the procedure to verify nothing is wrong. Even the X-rays test was performed by both, the student and instructor doctor. Every time a task wasn’t performed appropriately, the instructor doctor would ask the student to redo the procedure for my assurance.
The experience was great; the cost was affordable. The benefits of going to a school are:
- Lowered price
- Quality care
- Ample of time spent on each dental work to ensure all the questions of patients are answered
The dental tourism is on the rise! The Americans have Mexico to get the dental work done in an inexpensive way. It is a common situation to save up to 60% on a dental treatment in Mexico. Hungary, Costa Rica, Ukraine, and several Asian countries also offer treatment for a fraction of the price patients can expect to pay in the US. While the savings look impressive, dental work abroad should be approached with caution.
There are way too many horror stories. Though the standards are much higher nowadays, being vigilant is paramount as there are dishonest and disreputable doctors in every country. Therefore, it is important to research adequately and get as many answers as possible. More the answers, lesser the risk.
Charitable Dental Organisations
Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/community-health-centers/ and look for a community health center nearby. Most of these centers offer dental services at a sliding fee. Medicaid is also a viable option, but its coverage depends on the state. At times, patients might have to pay additional amount out of your own pocket.
In addition, there are often free clinics for uninsured or underserved patients, such as UNCSNDA & Mission of Mercy. Even, the local dental office, at times, have charity index fund type of programs. Irrespective of where you reside, just search for “free dental care in “your location”, and you might come across surprising results.
Big, Free Dental Events
It is an ideal option for anyone looking for free dental work. Remote Area Medical (RAM) is one of the well renowned non-profit organizations that do free dental work across the country. They bring in several dentists from local practices and have all their chairs filled all day. First come, first served. ADA (American Dental Association) also organizes multiple events throughout the year to help patients suffering from dental problems.
On a disadvantageous side, the dentists participating in these events generally offer a limited set of services. You might not get dental implant services, but you can surely get a free checkup.
Patients often ask dentists for help with billing and extending time to pay the practice. Patient financing is an ideal solution to address these requests and is quite easy to implement. Patients apply for financing, and once approved, can access their credit to pay for treatment. The much-needed benefit for patients in this is they can move forward with the care they need immediately while paying a convenient monthly fee.
The patient financing program is a perfect way to help patients get the dental work they need while managing the out-of-pocket costs. Because everyone has different financial needs, it is important that a patient must choose the right program in order to get the needed flexibility.
Dental work is one of the costliest practices in the United States. They can range from as small as $200 for a regular checkup to as big as $6000 for braces. The medical insurance alone won’t suffice for the huge cost incurred during a major dental work. Even savings don’t help in most cases. Thus, it is better to have a backup plan if things ever go haywire.