What To Do if You Can’t Afford Dental Care


A smile is the light in the window of your soul. So it’s best that you do not hide it. However, that is sadly the case for many people who require expensive or unforeseen dental treatment. If you are in this situation, you may be clueless about what to do if you can’t afford dental care. According to Healthline, more than 100 million Americans currently lack insurance coverage for dental care. The average-income middle-class households get almost no provision from their earnings to cater for dental treatment.

Regular dental visits are crucial to maintaining good oral hygiene. Yet, it is unfortunate that many people skip appointments with dentists due to their incapacity to pay for dental checkups. Without money or dental insurance, these individuals miss the numerous benefits of maintaining oral health. Just how expensive can dental care be?

According to Health cost helpers, regular dental cleanings can range from $75 to $200 without insurance coverage. This price could rise to over $300 with additional x-rays. If a cavity forms, which ought to occur in about 92 percent of people, it would cost you anywhere between $75 to $200 to have a dental filling. Moreover, in situations where a tooth has erupted, or an implant is required, it can cost you up to $8,270 to anchor an artificial root for tooth replacement.

Considering all these factors, it may seem almost out of the question to afford proper dental care. However, does this mean that it is impossible? The answer is No. Below are some tips on what to do if you can’t afford dental care.

Find Free or Cheap Dental Services

Free or inexpensive dental services are crucial for many people who cannot afford the high cost of dental care. It ensures that you receive treatment without any financial strain on your side. You can exploit this option and enjoy the benefits of maintaining good dental health by seeking services in the following places.

Community Care Clinic

A community care clinic is a facility run by a nonprofit entity that offers medical care for low-income people without insurance coverage. These clinics typically offer essential services like health screening, preventive care, medical spa, and dental services. Dental services include cleanings, fillings, root canals, x-rays, orthodontics, and implants.

Community care clinics are funded by taxpayers and managed by community health centers or state health agencies. Many have modest sliding fees and fixed pricing that vary depending on one’s ability to pay. They help reduce dental services costs for low-income individuals since service fees are income-based.

Dental Schools

Dental schools are an excellent breeding ground for future professional dentists, where students learn to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral conditions and diseases. They offer a variety of programs where students get hands-on training on different dental procedures. Such institutions can be a good place to go if you want to improve your medical wellness and get free or reduced dental care services. Here you might spend half or even less of what reputable dentists charge.

Free Dental Clinics

Another place where you can get pro bono dental services is at free dental clinics. These clinics are run by volunteers and non-governmental organizations offering their time and resources to help the needy. They comprise various groups that offer services for free or at discounted rates. For instance, churches and universities operate clinics that serve those needing free dental care.

Dental Insurance Covers

Dental insurance covers and grants are other approaches to take when considering what to do if you can’t afford dental care. Dental grants assist low-income people and families with the cost of oral care and provide them with coverage. With dental grants, one qualifies for various dental services like checkups, fillings, cleanings, and x-rays. Occasionally, dental grants may cover other costly procedures such as implants and root canal treatment.

Many government and private institutions provide dental coverage and grants for those in need. The American Dental Association (ADA) is among organizations that provide dental insurance coverage with the mission to advance and advocate for the public’s oral health. Some other nonprofit institutions include Oral Health America(OHA), Dental Lifeline Network, Give Back a Smile, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

However, although these grants may be life-changing, there are certain requirements that you must meet to qualify. For instance, the government offers dental coverage for children under the Children’s Health Insurance Program and adults eligible for medical care programs such as Medicaid. To qualify for a dental grant or coverage, look for institutions that best suit your needs. Once you have found the right program or organization, apply for the grant by filling out an application form and availing the required documentation, such as proof of income.

Dental Saving Plans

A dental savings plan is an affordable alternative to insurance coverages and a good way to save money on dental checkups and treatment. It is a membership program offered through dental offices that gives individuals discounts on dental care. However, you should not mistake dental savings plans with dental insurance since there are no limitations or waiting periods required before receiving care, unlike insurance plans.

How can you know which one between insurance cover and a dental savings plan is right for you? Well, this depends on your needs. However, with a dental savings plan, you get immediate access and major discounts on dental care services. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, you can get up to a 60 percent discount on routine dental procedures by paying a small monthly fee with a savings plan.

Currently, there are several savings plans available for dental care, so it is critical to compare them to identify the one that suits your needs. However, you can begin by setting aside some money. If you have an upcoming dental checkup and do not know what to do if you can’t afford dental care, you can consider opening a Health Savings Account(HSA) to save money. Opening a personal savings account will ensure immediate access to dental care and discounts on dental services, whether you are saving through a financial institution or a health insurance company.

Uninsured Payment Plans

Treatment can cost a fortune and may get you into debt if you do not know what to do if you can’t afford dental care. Getting uninsured payment plans can help make dental care affordable if you have no money to pay for treatment or have no insurance. Uninsured payment plans are a good provision since they allow you to get general dentistry services at an affordable cost. Talking with your dentist can also be a good way to negotiate discounted rates

According to Humana, a standard tooth cleaning typically costs $75 to $200, while a white filling for one to two teeth can cost you around $90 to $250. When you lack insurance coverage, these services can seem unattainable. However, you can figure a way out with an uninsured payment plan. All you need to do is find offices or dentists offering private membership plans for those without insurance and have a chat with them.

Talking to your dentist about payments can help you figure out programs with a flat fee billing service that will enable you to make payments in installments. With the help of these plans, you can spread out your payment cost over several months, making dental care affordable. Therefore, it is always advisable to talk to your dentist and inquire about several payment options or seek advice on the perfect dental care plan for you.


If you find yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do if you can’t afford dental care, a fundraiser can be another good consideration. Fundraising can be handy if you do not have the money or insurance cover to cater to your dental care expenses. Many people have turned to fundraisers to settle their medical bills and for the advantages they provide. For instance, unlike insurance covers, fundraisers have no waiting periods to receive assistance and do not require you to refund the money.

There are many ways to conduct fundraisers to raise money for dental care. One effective approach is to host an event where you sell items, services, or conduct activities. Such events can be a great way to evoke generosity from people by asking them to donate to your course. Also, you can conduct online fundraising through resources like crowdfunding or social media to reach potential donors and well-wishers. This can be a good relief when you are in disarray about what to do if you can’t afford dental care.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Poor dental hygiene can lead to an unpleasant smile and other serious problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. These problems can have dire consequences on your overall health and be very costly to treat, especially if you have no dental insurance. However, maintaining good dental hygiene may just be what to do if you can’t afford dental care.

Good oral hygiene is crucial for various reasons. First, regular brushing and flossing help maintain a healthy mouth by preventing cavities. Consequently, you can prevent the need for serious and pricey dental procedures like root canals, crowns, and fillings which may require using complex medical equipment.

Maintaining good dental hygiene can also help prevent gum disease, which can result in costly and severe health issues. Additionally, good dental hygiene eliminates the risks of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, infections, and other severe illnesses linked to gum disease.

Seek Financial Assistance

Financial assistance for dental care may be a good idea of what to do if you can’t afford dental care. These can come in various forms, including applying for CareCredit, obtaining a low-interest loan, and turning to charity organizations and government programs for financing. A good place to start is by contacting your local dental society for information on how to go about seeking financial aid.

CareCredit is among the most preferred options for dental care. It offers interest-free financing for up to two years with no annual charges. Therefore, this option may suit you if you have high deductibles or no dental insurance. CareCredit also comes with various plans that offer specialized financing not found in other cards. You can use it for dental care services such as restorative procedures and preventative treatments, and cosmetic dentistry.

Applying for low-interest loans can be another way of getting financial assistance to pay for dental care. However, before taking a loan, get in touch with your bank to learn more about low-interest personal load choices. With a good credit score, your bank can help you get a loan to pay for extensive dental work, such as a laser service that may be crucial for treating different dental conditions. This service can also help with your dental reconstruction and smile makeover.

When these options fail, you can resort to charities for financial assistance. Many charity organizations can assist with your medical care needs and cost. These organizations may partly or fully assist with finances for your dental work, braces, and dentures.

The Bottom Line

Now that you have an idea of what to do if you can’t afford dental care, it is essential that you see which of the above suggestions works best for you. However, before anything else, it is advisable that you do your part by maintaining good dental hygiene, as this simple act can prevent the need for costly dental treatments. Next, you should consider free services such as free dental clinics, financial aid, and fundraisers. Only then can you resort to cheaper dental care or seek a loan to cover your dental care. Do you need help with finding affordable dental care? Contact us today to get specialized advice that fits your needs.

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