Are you looking for low-cost or free dental clinics in your area? While they may be hard to find, it’s definitely doable. For people who need serious dental reconstruction or have recently lost their dental insurance, a free dental clinic may play a vital role in being able to comfortably eat a meal or even smile in a photograph.
What’s the best way to find a charity clinic or free dental treatment in your area? Here are a few things that you need to look for, or consider:
Start With Local Dental Schools
Is there a dental school near you? Dental students undergo rigorous training and supervision when providing care to patients. As such, schools are a wonderful place to access discounted or free treatment. Depending on which school you are going to, some will charge a small fee or significant discount on the treatment being provided.
Being that dental students are required to perform a specific number of certain types of procedures, there is not a guarantee that you will be seen on your own timeline. After your initial screening, it could be some time before you’re called back for the treatment. If you don’t mind waiting or making multiple trips to the clinic, you’re in luck.
Check with Professional Organization Websites
Depending on where you live, most dental associations or dental hygiene groups will come together once or twice a year to open regional dental clinics to provide discounted or free dental treatment. It’s often an annual occurrence, so if you’re in the loop, you can plan ahead as to where it will be and the days that it’s open.
Check with your state dental society to find out when they’re requesting volunteers…that way you know all the details before it’s announced to the public.
Larger municipalities may have full-time dental clinics within a short driving distance. These clinics are usually funded by grant money or even staffed by a rotation of volunteers. They are run like a traditional dental practice, with the standard set-up of private treatment rooms (as opposed to an open-bay setup that may be in a large room or even a parking lot during an annual clinic.) As such, you will require a pre-set appointment and need to arrive at a designated time. Not showing up on time could result in you being unable to be rescheduled, due to the competitive nature of getting in for treatment.
The treatment may or may not be “free.” If you do not qualify for free dental care, the services may be provided at a discount — usually based on your income — but at a substantially lower rate than what would be charged at a privately-run business. As such, it can be challenging to get an appointment. You may need to wait for several months before you can be seen.
Public Clinics: Be Sure to Get There Early
If there’s one thing you need to know about free public dental clinics, it’s that they take up a lot of time. Most of that time is spent waiting. Because the treatments are discounted or done free of charge, there will be a lot of people requesting them.
The best thing you can do to ensure that you’re seen, is to get there as early as possible. As in hours before it opens. You will spend several hours waiting, being screened, and then in line to see the dentist providing the service. Don’t be surprised if you show up at six in the morning and not leave until six in the evening. Time is the price you will pay, when free dental care is involved. For some, it’s worth it!
What Treatments are Available?
One of the most important things that you need to know about free dental clinics is that you do not have many options when it comes to what treatment is available. In most cases, it consists of cleanings and teeth extractions, or sometimes fillings.
Because the treatment is free, it is “quick” and basic: removing diseased teeth (extractions) or providing prophylactic cleanings to remove disease-causing tartar. Anything else will have to be taken up with a private provider. While this may seem a bit extreme, it still falls within the standard of care and jump-starts at-risk individual’s dental health.
You cannot elect to have crown and bridge work done, or opt for the latest dental implant. It’s about the basics: eliminating dental infections and helping you prevent them from returning.
If you’re trying to find a free dental clinic because of an emergency or you need several treatments done, it might be best to find an affordable dental discount plan that’s accepted by a dentist in your area. At AetnaDentalOffers.com we can find a plan that fits your budget, so that you can receive discounted treatments at a practice near your home or office. Call us today for more information!
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