No dental insurance? You're not alone. Nearly 45-million Americans are living without dental insurance coverage. What makes this statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention especially troubling is the fact that enrollment in a dental plan is the leading indicator of your ability to access dental care. The reason most people give for not seeing a dentist? No dental insurance.
Lack of dental insurance is why millions put their dental health on hold ... often unnecessarily. Far too many people are delaying everything from simple preventive oral hygiene measures like regular dental visits to essential oral surgery procedures like wisdom teeth removal. It's important to know that not having dental insurance doesn't have to mean you can't see a dentist.
Cures for the “Need a Dentist No Insurance Blues”
Dental emergencies and chronic dental problems have a nasty habit of cropping up whether or not you're enrolled in a dental plan. If you're among the one in four Americans with no dental insurance coverage, there are several strategies you can pursue to get essential dental treatments.
No Dental Insurance Strategy 1 - Dental Payment Plans
Many dentists and dental specialists offer third-party dental payment plans specially designed for those who need to supplement or replace their dental insurance. An affordable alternative to making an upfront lump-sum payment, no-fee financing allows you to pay over time without incurring interest charges. Patient financing offers some advantages over employer-sponsored dental plans, including the ability to pay for preexisting conditions and elective cosmetic dentistry procedures. Applications for dental payment plans are available at participating dentists. Individuals with poor credit histories may need a cosigner to qualify for financing.
No Dental Insurance Strategy 2 - Dental Schools
Clinics affiliated with dental schools are a great source of quality, low-cost dentistry and orthodontic treatment. Dental students provide the care working under the watchful eyes of senior licensed dentists. Many dental hygiene schools offer people in their community preventive treatments like prophylaxis at little or no cost.
No Dental Insurance Strategy 3 - Clinical Trials
Research studies conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) often need volunteers with specific dental, oral and craniofacial conditions for clinical trials. Individuals who qualify for one of the programs may receive limited free or reduced-cost dental treatment for the condition under study.
No Dental Insurance Strategy 4 - Government Assistance
Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and state-run agencies like Denti-Cal in California provide dental care coverage for eligible economically challenged individuals. While participation guidelines vary, most programs offer comprehensive dental services for individuals under 21. Those over 21 typically qualify for emergency dental services only.
No Dental Insurance Strategy 5 - Free Clinics and Dental Charities
A large number of dentists, oral surgeons and dental hygienists are volunteering their time and services at free clinics run by dental charities. Following is a small sampling of non-profit organizations dedicated to meeting the dental health needs of low-income Americans:
Don't let the "Need a Dentist No Insurance Blues" keep you from getting essential dental care.