5 Resources to Help Improve your Dental Health

Autumn gives us many reasons to smile; colorful leaves, seasonal treats like pumpkin pie and apple crumble and the start of the school year all make this season delightful. Without access to affordable dental care, however, it may be difficult to smile, both physically and emotionally. Based on comments from many of our users, Benefits.gov recognizes the importance of dental health and gaining access to associated resources. In response to your requests, we’ve provided some helpful tips for those seeking dental care below.

  1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports many Federally-funded community health centers, some of which provide access to free or low-cost dental care. These health centers are here to serve you. Even if you choose not to have health insurance, you pay for the services that you can afford. These centers all provide checkups and treatment when you are sick. You can find a health center near you using HRSA’s “Find a Health Center” tool. We encourage you to contact the center nearest you directly to inquire about dental services.
  2. In addition to HRSA health centers, many dental schools provide high-quality, low-cost dental services. These schools allow their current students to gain hands-on experience by providing reduced-cost dental treatment, and they are supervised by experienced, licensed dentists. You can search for dental programs through the American Dental Association (ADA), and contact these programs directly to ask about dental services provided by their dental students.
  3. Federal programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), may also cover dental services for some beneficiaries. Medicaid dental coverage differs by state; some offer limited emergency dental services for those over age 21, while others offer more comprehensive dental care. Most Medicaid programs also offer dental services to those under age 21. CHIP, which covers children up to age 19 who do not have health insurance, offers dental services to most of its beneficiaries. Again, CHIP dental services differ by state.
  4. We also recommend calling your state or local health department to ask about dental programs for low-income individuals. You can use this directory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find out how to contact your state health department.
  5. Finally, it’s a good idea to contact your local United Way for information on dental services in your community.

It can be a challenge to find affordable dental care, but these resources may make the process easier. We hope you get the dental care you need, and keep smiling throughout the year!