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How Can I Get Free Dental Care?

How Can I Get Free Dental Care?

Do you feel like you’re overwhelmed when it comes to finding affordable dentistry? If you’re frustrated with your dental insurance plan or don’t have coverage, you’re not alone. At Aetna Dental Offers, one of the most common questions we’re asked is “how can I find free or discounted dental care for my family?” Knowing where to look can help save you thousands of dollars in future dental bills. 

Take Advantage of Preventive Services

Ok, so signing up for dental insurance isn’t technically “free.” But, your plan does include 100% coverage (aka “free”) on preventive services like dental cleanings, exams, some x-rays, and more. The key is to make sure you’re taking full advantage of these services, so that you’re getting the most out of your investment. When you do, you can prevent and avoid unnecessary dental problems further down the road.

For instance, most dental insurance policies will fully cover your cleaning and checkup twice a year. You can look at these as your “free” treatments if you want, and then take into account that your insurance is mostly there to help you cover a portion of restorative treatments (like crowns, fillings, root canals, and more.)

Because dental insurance is prevention focused, it pays more for your care when you’re seeking out preventive services as opposed to restorative ones. That’s why those usually seem to be free to begin with, as they’re essentially covered by your monthly premium. It’s once you start tapping into extra benefits that the reimbursement levels start to come down (80% on fillings, 50% on crowns, etc.) 

Visit Your Local Dental School 

Some dental schools provide free or deeply discounted treatments to their patients. Your dentist — a student — will be carefully supervised by an experienced dentists and/or dental specialist who oversees the entire procedure. If you don’t have insurance coverage or need dental work done for free, this is one of the best ways to get more complex procedures completed at a discounted rate. 

The best way to get into a dental school is to be flexible with your schedule. Some schools are first come, first serve – which usually means you’ll wait on a line for service. Others may book you in advance, but only as it meets the semester clinical criteria for students.

You’ll want to plan to spend extra time at the clinic as it usually takes two to three times longer to have a procedure completed than it would at a private dental practice. Why? Because the students are being rigorously monitored, graded, and must complete specific criteria with procedures as part of their educational process. 

Sign up for Community Dental Health Days

Most communities have dentists and dental offices who will provide free dental work once or twice a year to the general public. Some of these clinics may have income restrictions, while others are simply first-come first-serve. But here’s the kicker. Even if you do get in or approved for free dentistry, such clinics typically only offer the basics: cleanings and extractions. If you need a root canal or a new denture, you’ll likely be out of luck. A free dental clinic’s goal is to eliminate disease and pain. Unfortunately, they just don’t usually have the resources available to provide state-of-the-art services for free to the general public. 

Some of these clinics are mobile, such as traveling buses that stop at schools or retirement homes. Others may be set up in a tent, parking lot, or community center. If you’re not comfortable getting dental care in a semi-public (or public) setting, this may be a challenge for you. 

No Insurance? Opt for a Dental Discount Plan

If you’re looking for low-cost dental care because your budget doesn’t stretch far enough to include visits to the dentist, consider joining a discount dental plan. With a discount plan, you get a 10%-60% reduction in cost on just about every dental treatment that’s available…whether it’s elective dental veneers or a complex dental implant procedure – depending on the plan you choose. There’s a discount plan that fits every budget and dental care concern, so you can easily select the plan that saves you the most on the care that you need.

Find out more about dental discount plans that are accepted by dentists in your area. Contact Aetna Dental Offers today to speak to one of our coverage experts.

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