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How To Save Money On Dental Care, Eyeglasses & Hearing Aids

Dental Care

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When desiring or needing dental care, the first place to consider is an insurance program.

  • Private health insurance seldom covers dental work.
  • Medicaid.
    • Eligibility and program benefits vary by state.
    • In most states, Medicaid provides at least basic dental care 
  • Medicare: 

If insurance does not cover, there are a variety of ways to access free or low cost dental care. This article first lists several websites that help.  The second part of the article lists ways you can research on your own if you do not find what you are looking for from the websites.

WEBSITES (in alphabetical order)


  • Low income clinics which are federally-supported. See: offsite link.
  • Your local area Agency on Aging, City and county health departments will know of other local low income health clinics funded by other sources. Check the U.S. Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator at offsite link or call 800.677.1116
  • Almost all dental schools offer free or very discounted dental care by student dentists whose work is closely supervised by dental professors. A list of all American dental schools is available through The American Dental Association ( offsite link; 312-440-2500) or the American Dental Education Association offsite link. Before you go to a dental clinic, call to get details about available dental coverage and eligibility requirements.
  • Many state and local dental associations have programs that provide services for free or reduced rates for people in financial need. You can locate such an association through the American Dental Association's web site: offsite link or call the ADA. Tel.: 312.440.2500 or the website of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at offsite link
  • Retail dental centers generally charge less than individual dentists.
  • Discount dental plans provide access to a network of dentists who agree to discount their regular prices. Locate a plan in your area by going to the website of the National Association of Dental Plans: www.   offsite link
  • Dental tourism (travel to another state or country). 
    • There are companies that will help arrange dental work abroad. Some companies even make travel arrangements as well. To locate such a company, type "Dental tourism" into your favorite search engine. 
    • Before committing, check the overall cost of a dental vacation against the cost of care in your area. Also check the operator before paying. For instance, check with the Better Business Bureau to see about complaints. ( offsite link
  • People Who Are Disabled: There are dentist volunteers who give free dental care to poor disabled people through the Association of Dentistry for the Handicapped ( offsite link Tel.: 303.573.0264).
  • Older Americans: For older Americans, the American Dental Association ( offsite link; Tel.: 312.440.2500) enlists dental volunteers to give free care to needy older people though the American Dental Association's Access To Oral Health Care For Older Americans Program.
  • Students: For students who can't afford to pay for care and can't receive it from Medicaid or CHIP because of income, coverage limits or alien status: A number of local public school systems fund or sponsor free or reduced-fee dental care, often using volunteer dentists, sometimes in school-provided clinics. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry ( offsite link ; 312-337-2169) has some information on such programs.
  • Needy Youngsters: Basketball star Eric Williams' Believe in Me Foundation ( offsite link ) promotes free and low-cost dental care. The Give Kids a Smile program of the American Dental Association ( offsite link; Tel.: 312.440.2500) enlists dentist volunteers to give free care.

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