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Medical is some of our most costly expenses and since dental visits aren't always covered by many insurances (nor by Medicare), folks sometimes don't go to their dentist every 6 months. I am not encouraging this. It's just a FACT.
If that describes you or someone you know, there is something you can do to protect your health between longer dental visits. I'll also tell you WHY.
Floss at LEAST once daily! Flossing not only removes food in between teeth that might cause cavities, it also wipes off built-up plaque along the tooth and the gumline which leads to teeth loosening and eventually gum disease! Plaque is also known to contribute to lung, heart and other diseases!
If possible look for the unwoven floss, which is looser and grabs more plaque causing material.
Start right after a dental cleaning and it won't build up as quickly. Your mouth will feel and all be fresher and cleaner longer too!
Is there a university medical center near you? I have had my entire mouth repaired (and I needed a lot!) at the Dental School of the university at a fraction of what it costs in the mainstream. I went there because I wasn't satisfied with my dental care in the mainstream market. I can't say enough good things about the care given at the school. Dental students are nearing their degree in dentistry and are very carefully supervised by a teaching dentist with advanced degrees.
For the many people without dental insurance, there are sometimes affordable ways to get the needed work done. This is a guide about getting dental work done without insurance.
Many local dental schools offer free or low cost care. You can find your local dental school here.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
The company I work for doesn't have dental coverage. Does anyone know of a good source for dental insurance? We have eye converage but no dental insurance. I may qualify as low income.
Check with your bank, car/house insurance company or even Sams Club. All have medical/dental/life insurances available for reasonable prices.
My teeth are infected, and hurt bad, I have no job, no money, I have to pay $100.00 to get in to see my doctor. What can I do?
By Beth from Jacksonville, TX
Read all the Archives at bottom of page, there are many ways of saving money, and still be able to get the necessary dental work done. Also call Catholic Charities, they will be able to point you in the right direction.
There might also be dental schools in your area, that need volunteer patients. The work is supervised by qualified dentists. I know what it is to feel horrific dental pain. I'm praying for you. I hope you can get help, very soon.
The dental schools might be able to help. Our community in Iowa just had a free dental clinic. People lined up a day ahead and slept in cold weather in sleeping bags just to get the free help.
We have the same situation and found that going to Mexico, you now need a passport, but we got the card one (about $100), not a passport book. It is well worth it to even fly down and get a motel room for major work, a $2000 crown in the US is about $300 in Mexico. The dentists are American trained. Every procedure is about 1/3 or less what a US dentist charges. A cleaning is $15 and well done; root canal is way less. We drive down for Thanksgiving every year and plan our dental visits at that time. WE call and make appointments, find the office clean and neat, and the personnel very personable and helpful. We go to Progresso TX and cross there. Most of the other 'portals' seem too dangerous, but we've never encountered any problems. Good luck! If I knew how to send you the Dr. name I would.
Go to your local Social Service's office for help of all kinds ~ keep us informed on what you do!
If I had money to go to Mexico, or fly somewhere to get my teeth fixed, I would not be on here, but I appreciate your help. I live in the sticks in E. Texas, 200 hundered miles from a Dental school They don't have Catholic Charities for dental work.
Has anyone from the U.S. had any experience with going to Tijuana for dental care? I am trying to figure out what's important here. I'm skeptical about going alone and also what I might encounter there that I haven't anticipated. Any recommendations? How do I choose from the advertised programs?
I have a limited amount budgeted, about 1/3 of what I need for here in the States. I'm concerned that even with an estimate, that I might encounter expenses or experiences that I'm not equipped to handle.
I'm 76 years old. I hope to have one of my daughters travel with me. Would like to stay in San Diego if I can find an affordable place.
By Carolyn from Clovis, CA
Have you ever thought of going to a dental school? My husband's cousin is a dentist and when he was in school my mother-in-law went to the dental school to have him work on her teeth.
I have no experience with dental work done in Tijuana; however, I know lots of people (including my husband) who have had dental work done in Algodones (across the border from Yuma, AZ). Dentists are trained in U.S. and costs are about 1/3 of that in U.S. I haven't talked to anyone who was unhappy with their work.
I went to the town near Yuma also, and was very pleased with the quality of the work. The whole place was cleaner than I had expected and the dentist was great. They even had bottled water from Yuma. It didn't seem quite as high-tech as some of the US dentists I had been to before, but with those savings I was very comfortable. I had almost a whole mouthful of teeth removed(they were very bad) and my dentures made, plus surgery on the jawbones for a whole lot less than what I had paid for 2 teeth removed and a cleaning here in the states. Also, I was in my 50's so I had been to dentists before with the same equipment.
Consider a dental school before going to Mexico. There service are free are a fraction of the price. I had two fillings replaced for 0. I had a crown replace for under 200 bucks. They need the practice and are watched over by doctor.
I would only consider going to a Mexican Dentist or Dr. after getting recommendations from close friends. You would not be able to get amends easily if things went wrong. Friends recommendations can help you make wise decisions. Find out if there is a dentistry or medical board and check for complaints. Google the dentist for his schooling etc. then call the board to find out if they have the same info.
Two women alone...in Mexico? Have you not watched the news? Hundreds of people have been killed just since the first of the year. Many were innocent by standers. Please re-think this option. Try for the dental school here or apply for Medi-Cal. Be Safe. Good Luck. GG Vi
Hello, Speaking from experience here, I did get my dentures in Mexico. I have relatives in Texas and stayed with them while getting my work done. I ended up having to have some bone surgically removed so saw a dental surgeon along with the dentist my relatives had recommended. Both were very clean, friendly, spoke good English and nice. They are licensed just as our dentists are should come with good reputations or you would not go to them here in the states either.
I know how it feels to be the minority, scarry, but they are just people the same as we are and if you go to a safe area there is nothing to worry about. Tijuana is not safe for what I hear but I shouldn't judge. I do know what I ended up having done would have cost around $4,000 here and I paid $1,500 total there.
I would not suggest going to Tijuana for dental care if you don't have a recommendation first. Also because of the danger factor I would not go without checking into getting a dentist that provided a ride from the border to his office. My BIL's dentist in Mexico did this for him, then took him back to the border to his own vehicle when he was done.
Just deciding to get dentures was the easy part for me, now that I have them. It is a huge adjustment to get used to them. Some people have no trouble at all and then there are others such as myself that do.
Please take time to consider if you can get by without dentures, if having a partial or other choices such as implants is a possibility I would recommend it. I wish someone would have talked to me about the choices before hand. My local dentist warned me but couldn't tell me from personal experience what it might be like. I am so stubborn I would probably not have listened anyway but at least I would have been warned. If you want to hear more from my personal experience feel free to contact me.
It is a big decision you are faced with, so take your time and check into the safety factor. You are worth so much more than the money. I wish you the best.
One other thought, you have to have a passport. We got the "little" one. Can only cross American borders or go on cruises -- no flying. Costs a lot less than a full fledged passport. Also we are very happy with our dentist in Mexico (we live in Arkansas). Our "snowbird" friends recommended the one we go to. Would not got without a recommendation. Clean, modern, friendly and caring!
I can't understand why anyone would want to go to Mexico period but especially to have dental work done. There are plenty of places that you can go that does not charge to much. These people don't know anything about you and if you have problems then you will need to go back to Mexico to have it fixed. You don't need to be dentist hopping from here to there! Good luck with what ever you do.
Hi - I do not know about Mexico but have read both good and bad (more good than bad).
I just wanted to comment about the dental schools. The dental school at UF in Gainesville, FL works out of the Shands Hospital and nothing is free or even near it!
If you need a tooth pulled you have to be at the hospital (no appointments) at 7 AM and wait to see if you qualify and if they can see you. If you qualify they will give you an appointment for later in the day or the following day. If they "fill up" before you are called then you have to return the next day and start all over again.
The work will include an x-ray and pulling of the tooth (this does not include anything complicated) and the cost at present time is 90.00.
I do not know if they accept Medicaid but the normal person will have to pay or not get the work done.
Maybe someone else has a better "school" than we have but this is no bargain considering all the problems.
If you want other services then you have to apply to their dental school and if they need some practice with your "problem" they will set you up for work but that may take several days and you have to be available anytime they say (in advance) and that is not good for working people.
They have "regular" dental services but these are just the same as any dentist charges.
Well, here goes and please bear with me. About 10 years ago I had some cosmetic dental work done and obviously I had to pay out of pocket. My teeth looked so much better and I felt good about myself.
Then the problems arose. When my parents and siblings saw my dental improvements, they verbally/mentally attacked me for having work done that wasn't covered by insurance. They have a mantra, that only procedures covered fully by insurance can be done. Weird and dysfunctional, yet true. Then my husband jumped on the bandwagon and sided with them. I paid for braces which I badly needed and had chipped teeth repaired, that's all!
Well, as a result of all this abuse, I just quit going to the dentist. Not a good decision, but the dysfunction and verbal bullying was just too much for me. Now my front teeth are wearing away (dentin is showing and discolored). I have many cavities and my overbite is bad. I don't think I can go through family bullying again, but need help paying for all the work that really needs to be done. I feel so bad about myself. I'm stuck.
Anybody have an idea if there's a good dentist/insurance underwriter that could help me? Please only sincere help. Thanks so much. I don't smile much anymore.
By Tara Lee
I am in so much pain all my teeth are bad and need to come out. I can't eat or sleep. I am pregnant and I can't give my baby what it needs if I can't even feed myself? Can anyone help me please? I haven't gotten to sleep in 4 days and I am so hungry I can't stand up. It has taken all I have to type this. Can anyone help me with suggestions for inexpensive dental work options.
By Anastasia B.
I have a huge dental bill. How can I find money or a way to work this out? I love my dentist and he has been working with me. I have applied for disability with hopes to receive that by November, but he can't work on my teeth until I pay more on my balance. Any ideas?
By Sue from Warsaw, VA
Hi: when life hands you tough breaks you can check for grants. Government grants are free money from the federal government. Benefits.gov is one place from the federal government and they ask you questions and best to ask to e-mail page when done so you can keep your grant findings. Good luck all of you. Lets hope our boat sails to free grant money. I too have dental payments costing me over 1,000. Yikes!
When I was married to a man who had a good paying job, but wouldn't spend any of the money on my teeth, my teeth got completely ruined. Occasionally when I had a tooth ache I could have one pulled, but that was it(he got dentures before he was 30). For years I lived with no teeth, broken off teeth and roots. When we sold our house in 1983 due to a divorce, the first thing I did with my share of the money was get dentures. But to this day I can still eat some foods better without any teeth than with the dentures. I see lots of people, both men and women running around without teeth. I'm telling you this just to point out that sometimes people have to go without dental work.
I will be 60 in a few months. I can not work and I need major dental work. I do not have many teeth left and probably need dentures. Where can I find cheap dental work?
By Cindy R.
I have teeth missing, I have 3 different arthritis diseases and fibromyalgia. I do have insurance, but they don't really cover implants. My dentures that I paid out the wazzoo for hurt and because of the fibro everything is a challenge.
I can't lay, sit, or stand for more than 30 minutes, so I need someone very skilled and very inexpensive. I have 2 five year old boys that I am raising with my husband, because my drugged out, I am too young, daughter refused to step up and raise them, but that isn't the problem. I am ashamed of my mouth, I have always kept up with my teeth and now especially after the flood in Louisiana, yes we are still trying to fix our home, we can't afford for me to get implants. They were quoted to be over $14,000 by more than one dentist. I also need more teeth removed because of problems getting to my general dentist.
So my question really is how can I get a trained, skilled dentist to help me fix my problem without going on national TV? I can barely chew and it is making my self image worse than it was already. I am depressed, hurting, and need some help.
I know that this question has been asked a thousand times, but does anyone know of some fundraising options to pay for dental work? I have had a medical issue that has resulted in serious dental problems. I need extensive work done and I am just a bit short of my goal.
This is what I have already done:
I applied and qualified for state insurance to pay for most of it. And have gone through all the treatment for all the basic work that the state covered. I had the treatment done at the local dental school, I am lucky enough that mine is Marquette, which is one of the top dental schools in the country.
I have saved $4000.00 for the rest of the treatment plan that my dental student is recommending. She is trying to save the remaining uppers with bridges and crowns. I will have to have a partial on the bottom which is covered by medicaid. The dental school requires half of the payment before and half when they are done. Even with the reduced prices her latest treatment plan is more like $6000.00. She has said that they would fit the molds for all of them at once so the bridges and crowns match . So waiting and doing them one at a time is not an option.
I am trying to find a way to raise the remaining amount. I have looked at sites like pay it forward, but they seem to depend a lot on social connections that are not really available to me. I cannot find any grants on the subject to apply for. I feel like I have exhausted my options, does anyone have other suggestions?
By Tresa T.
How can I apply for financial assistance for dental surgery? I need either a flipper or an implant as soon as possible! Or do you know if Palm Beach Health Care District covers dental implants? I had a tooth extracted in July and need a quick fix! Thanks.
By Michele R.
I need help with dental bills. I am disabled and receive SSD. My husband has dental insurance, but it doesn't pay much. I started work on getting partial plates. Now I have bills for extractions of $900 and insurance only paid 300. The plate for the top alone is $1400. I also just had fillings in top and my co pay was $200. I need help, as I am unable to pay and the doctor says to get caught up or no more work. Thank you.
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My husband needs dental help very badly, we are on a limited income, but can get a little help with dental insurance. I am confused by the choices and need a compassionate dentist in our area. He will probably have to have extensive work. Any feedback appreciated.
Kersti from Bellevue
One of the first things I have done when I moved to another state was contact local hospitals or pediadentists (dentists just for children). I asked them to recommend a compassionate dentist/oral surgeon. I am nervous when it comes to my mouth and I also have sensitive teeth. I was pleased with the recommendations I received. A dentist may recommend an oral surgeon, depending on the work your husband has to have done. Just be sure to ask him the same question about your concerns. Hope this helps! (11/28/2005)
Also, ask the hospital if there are any dental schools in your area, maybe at a local university. Many of them perform dental work at reduced prices. Good luck! (11/28/2005)
Try the local health clinics. Here in Kentucky, some of our health clinics have a 'dental day' once a month, and you pay according to your income. I hope your area has this same type of program. God bless. (11/28/2005)
A while back my friend found that he needed several thousand dollars worth of dental work. He was on a low income, and didn't have dental insurance. His solution was to fly to Costa Rica and get the dental work done there. The doctors and dentists there are often US trained, or trained by US physicians, so the care is basically the same as what you would get here. Because Costa Rica depends on tourist dollars, it's possible to get cheap flights and accommodation is also really inexpensive. He paid less than a third of what he would have paid to get the work done in the US, and he got a nice trip to Costa Rica in the deal. (01/16/2006)
I would look up sliding scale dentists on the internet or sliding scale medical care and then put your city and state and see what you come up with. Sometimes it is better to get the teeth pulled then to do extensive work on them. Just remember not to suck on a straw or any kind of sucking motion with your mouth after an extraction to prevent dry sockets.
By Robyn Fed
It is never too soon to start a savings account for dental needs, it can be as little as ten dollars a week or so, and it adds up soon.
By Robyn Fed