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Where can I find free or low cost dental services?

Dental schools can be a good source of quality, low-cost dental treatment. Most schools also offer post-graduate and faculty clinics. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provides services through the Health Resources and Services Administration, which can help you find a health center near you that provides dental care.

Although the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NICDR) does not provide financial assistance for dental treatment, they do, from time to time, seek volunteers with specific dental, oral, and craniofacial conditions to participate in research studies/clinical trials. For a full listing of all federally funded trials, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.

Other resources include:

Discounted Dental Care. Cavities are not just painful – they can also be expensive to treat. Sometimes dentists are willing to set up a payment plan or lower the cost of their services for patients who pay cash, so you should always ask before scheduling your appointment. You can also get discounted services at dental schools or federally-funded health centers. In addition, the Dental Lifeline Network has more than 15,000 volunteer dentists who offer donated dental services to people with disabilities or those who are elderly or medically at-risk.

Tooth Wisdom offers a searchable database of low-cost medical programs at http://www.toothwisdom.org/care.

Dentably offers a dental care guide for caregivers of people with Down syndrome and a guide for the oral treatment for people with autism. These guides include information on common dental problems seen in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, why a visit to the dentist can be difficult or challenging experience, finding the right dentist who understands working with patients with disabilities, how advocacy organizations can help, inquiring about equipment requirements and preparing for the appointment, practicing proper oral hygiene at home, and more. The guides include videos and resources for self-advocates, their families, and caregivers.

Community providers interested in effective oral health programs may want to visit Oral Health.gov. This website aims to help communities, governments, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and private businesses start or enhance community-based oral health programs for older adults. With two main components—a searchable database of community-based oral health programs and The Community Guide to Adult Oral Health Program Implementation (Oral Health Guide)—this website offers access to essential tools for planning, designing, and implementing a new program or replicating or expanding an existing program.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has published a factsheet that highlights alternative resources that may be available to help low-income older adults and people with disabilities access care not covered by Medicare, including certain dental, vision, and hearing services.