Finding affordable dental services while unemployed can be a challenge, but several options do exist. Finding low-income community dental clinics and dental providers has never been easier as the Internet provides many databases for such services across all 50 states. You may have to do a little research to find the correct dental program and services to meet your needs, but there are many choices offered between private non-profit agencies, dental professional organisations, dental schools and state-run dental insurance programs.
Dental Schools at Universities
Dental schools at universities often offer low-cost or free dental treatments to the public. To locate universities in your area with dental schools, you can visit the Dental Guide USA, which allows you to locate dental schools by state. Once you have located an accredited university dental school, call the school and ask about getting into their dental clinic. Sometimes there are waiting lists; each clinic has different criteria for serving patients. Often dental clinics at universities have emergency appointments available as well. The downside of using university dental clinics is the time in the dentist chair is longer, as students do the work, and are being graded on the work, but in the end, there is professional supervision and access to quality dental professionals that may not otherwise be had.
Community Dental Clinics
Many communities fund and staff local dental clinics that serve the public at reduced rates or for free. You can find lists of local dental clinics by state at the Dental Guide USA online database. You can also use Google's search engine to find local clinics by inputting the terms "community dental clinic" and your town or state's name. When you have found a community dental clinic that serves your area, contact the clinic by phone to find out their criteria for payment and treatment. Community dental clinics are most often staffed by dentists who are new to the profession and are accumulating experience, or the dentists are paid by community grants and are doing the work as a form of community service. Community clinics usually have older, basic equipment and do not offer services such as digital X-rays or nitrous oxide. Many only do basic dental care, such as fillings and extractions, excluding services such as root canals. Each local dental clinic is different, but most communities do have free and low-income dental care available to the public.
State Dental Associations
State Dental Associations offer comprehensive websites detailing dental treatment options within the state. You can find dental associations by state listed at Animated-Teeth.com. After choosing a state's dental association, explore the associated website for topics such as "patients," "consumer," or "community." These state dental association websites offer lists of clinics, dentists, and programs that assist low-income people in need of dental assistance. You can also look your state dental association up using a Google search engine by inputting the term "state dental association" and the name of your state or by looking up the phone number in a local phone book.
Dental Treatment Programs and State Dental Insurance
Many non-profit and state agencies offer special programs for free and low-income dental treatment. One such program is the Donated Dental Services, which offers dental services for free to seniors, disabled and the medically compromised public who lack resources to pay for dental services. You can find a list of different state DDS programs at the website for National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped. These programs work with local dentists and clinics to provide services for free to the public. Some states have dental insurance for low-income people in need of dental work, such as CA's Denti-Cal program. Although the services provided by such state insurance plans may be limited, and choice of dental providers may be small, these plans can help pay for basic dental treatments such as fillings and extractions. You can search the terms "state dental insurance" and your state's name to find different state dental insurance programs or look in the state pages of your phone book for the health department in your area and call them to ask about state dental insurance options.