Cavities on a Fixed-Income? Where to Find Low-Income Dentists
Dental care can be expensive, especially when cavities need to be filled or oral surgery is required to repair tooth damage and relieve pain. Individuals and families on a fixed income can find low-income dental care through government assistant programs, health insurance providers and community organizations that sponsor dental clinics.
As of 2015, all states are required to provide dental benefits for children through the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. Mandated dental coverage for adults varies by state. Children covered by public assistance with dental benefits are entitled to oral screening as part of an annual physical exam. Physicians then refer families to a dentist so children can receive annual cleanings and X-rays as well as restoration of teeth or relief from dental infections or tooth pain.
Most government programs also provide early and period screenings free of charge. Some of the screenings are conducted at public schools, whereas some families may need to visit a Medicaid-approved dentist to screen for potential dental issues. The early screening programs help detect dental maintenance necessary to prevent long-term issues that can be costly, such as the need for a root canal, bridge or tooth replacement.
Many dental organizations provide a free directory of dentists offering affordable maintenance and dental care for individuals and families on a fixed income. For example, the Missouri Dental Association's website features a list of clinics and dental facilities associated with the organization who are committed to serving low-income and fixed-income residents of the state.
Individuals and families who possess private health insurance through an employer can request a list of dentists who honor the health care plan and only charge minimum fees such as co-pays. The insurance company is then billed for the remaining portion of the dental exams for family members covered under the plan.
Neglecting dental care can be a painful and costly situation if left untreated. Instead of putting off a dental appointment due to a fixed income, individuals and families have access to free or affordable dental care through government programs, private health insurance providers and community clinics.