10 Free and Low Cost Dental Care Options for Seniors

Chris Hawkins Written by Chris Hawkins
SeniorLiving.Org Expert on Senior Care & Assisted Living

If you read our article, "The Importance of Senior Dental Care", you’ll know how important good oral health is to your overall quality of life. You’ll be able to chew food properly and without pain. You’ll taste what you’re chewing. You’ll reduce the likelihood of developing other health issues. And you’ll save money in the long run.

But access to regular dental care is often difficult for seniors. Medicare doesn’t cover it. Medicaid coverage is limited. Out-of-pocket expenses can be prohibitive to those on a fixed income.

Fortunately, there are organizations that can help. Here are 10 free or low cost dental care options for seniors:

1) The first place you should start is the toothwisdom.org, a site dedicated to health resources for older adults. Click on your state here and you’ll find a list of excellent resources.

The site is run by Oral Health America (OHA), “a national nonprofit based in Chicago that is dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities with resources to increase access to care, education, and advocacy for all Americans, especially those most vulnerable.”

2) With Eldercare Locator, a service of the Administration on Aging, you can search by state or by service (health, transportation, legal, etc.). Speak with an information specialist: 1-800-677-1116.

3) 2-1-1 Information and Referral Search is sponsored by the United Way and can connect you to services in your area. Simply dial 211.

4) PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a Medicare and Medicaid program that “helps people meet their health care needs in the community…” This healthcare can include dentistry.

5) The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports federally-funded health centers for those with no insurance or limited income. Many offer sliding scale (based on what you can afford) payments. Visit the site or call 1–888–275–4772.

6) The Dental Lifeline Network (formerly the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped) provides “access to comprehensive dental services for people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically at-risk.” Call 1-888-471-6334.

7) The non-profit Dentistry From The Heart (DFTH) provides “free dental care to those in need.” Volunteer dentists and hygienists donate their time for events around the country. Find events here.

8) Check out www.Freemedicalcamps.com to locate free or inexpensive dental care.

9) Dental schools are an option for good low-cost care as many have clinics where students get experience working on patients. The ADA’s website has a listing of schools by state. Also try dental hygiene schools for preventative care.

10) The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics is a non-profit that seeks to “broaden access to affordable health care for the medically underserved.” You can search for free care from their homepage.

 


Updated: Oct 30, 2013

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