Do you need dental care, but can’t afford it? If so, you’re not alone. Around 23% of Americans lack dental coverage in any form. That’s around 74 million Americans. A large number of Americans also have dental insurance, but they still can’t afford to get the work they need done.
In this post, we’ll talk about some ways to get free dental work or very cheap dental work. We’ll also discuss how you can pay for dental work with no money down. Read on for more information:
Cheap or Free Dental Work: Dental School
One way to get a significant discount on dental work while still ensuring that you get quality care is to call your local dental school. Most people live within driving distance of a major university, and most major universities also have dental schools attached.
These universities will often offer free or cheap dental care in order for their students to practice on real patients. You don’t need to worry though: all of these students have completed the necessary steps in order to practice dentistry on a human being.
Additionally, they won’t be working on their own. Dental students have a supervisor directly above them, usually their professor or advisor. During the time they work on patients, their advisor will check off their work to ensure that they’ve done a proper job.
While dental work is cheap, or even free, there is one downside: the procedures are slower. A 15-minute dental treatment in a non-student office could turn into 45-minutes or an hour in the chair because the advisor will need to check on each step the student performs.
The student working on your teeth most likely isn’t the only student there, meaning their supervisor or advisor will need to check on each students’ progress. But if you have the time and are short on cash, this can be a great solution.
Most big cities also provide free dental clinics, though expect their waiting list to be long. In some cases, they can be closed altogether.
These dental clinics may be similar to medical clinics or other necessary services. That means they may be run by faith-based or non-profit organizations. Dentists may also be volunteering their time for the cause, which can make waitlists even longer.
However, it is work checking around to see if there is a free dental clinic somewhere in your city. You may not be able to get cosmetic dentistry, like braces, performed. But you’ll be able to get necessary dentistry for your overall health.
Public Dental Clinics
While most people see private dentists in order to get their work done, there are some public dental clinics that accept patients. These clinics may receive some funding through the state and may work on patients for free or on a sliding scale.
Like with free clinics, you won’t likely get cosmetic care. But you may be able to get cleanings, X-rays, root canals and other issues taken care of for you.
ToothWisdom.org provides a directory for public dental clinics that can make it easier to find someone who will provide a service you can afford. While their site focuses on older adults, you’ll still be able to suss out practices that can help people who are younger but still need dental intervention.
Getting a Loan
If you need dental work and you can’t wait for the public clinics, dental schools or free clinics to fit you in, you may need to take more drastic measures. And for some people, this includes getting a loan.
Even if you have poor credit, there are many payday loans and poor credit loans out there that can help you finance what you need immediately. While this isn’t always the best solution, it can make a world of difference between being in constant pain and being able to function
When taking out a loan, be sure not to get one that you will have trouble paying back. Do not “bite off more than you can chew” in terms of getting a loan in which you’ll struggle to make the monthly payments.
Instead, speak to an advisor about what you can do, and work with that.
Many dentists know that you can’t pay for everything upfront. That’s absolutely realistic and makes sense. Some will even work with you to provide financing. Or, you can work with intermediary companies who will help you take out short-term loans to get the dental care you need.
For example, braces financing is a perfect solution for those who need braces, but can’t afford them. Braces are expensive, but many people feel self-conscious about their crooked teeth if they don’t fix them. Still, braces aren’t always seen as necessary for your overall health, so you may not be able to get them at a free dental clinic.
Therefore, financing can be the way to go to help you achieve your goals. Again, don’t take out loans that you can’t pay back. Be prudent and wise in your decisions.
While getting free dental work can be difficult and time-consuming, it can be done with the right resolve. If you can’t find a dentist who will perform the work you need done for free in a timely manner, loans can always help bridge the gap.
Looking for more ways to save money? Browse the rest of our site to help you stay chic as you navigate your money.