Low Income Senior Dental Resources
Although it's common knowledge that good dental health is important for overall health, and especially so for seniors, there are few dental resources for seniors with low incomes. The few dental resources out there are often oversubscribed, with long waiting lists.
However, if you can find a program not too far from you, it will be worth it to place your name on their waiting list. If you do, eventually your name will work its way to the top of the list. If you don't, well you'll certainly never get in that way.
You will have to check out the dental resources listed on these sites. Each one will have its own criteria, of course. Most offer either sliding fee scales or discounted dental services. This means that fees will be lower than average, but services will not be free. Patients must be prepared to pay for dental services at the time they are performed.
Schools of dentistry will offer a full range of dental treatment to their patients. The type of patient they will accept at any particular time will depend on the educational needs of their students. Before they complete the program every student must be exposed to every kind of dental need. However, prospective patients may have to wait until their individual needs correspond to the needs of the teaching curriculum.
Fees at a school of dentistry will generally be lower than in those at a private clinic. However, patients must be willing to commit to longer appointments and may have to visit more frequently.
The American Dental Association offers a list of all accredited dental education programs in the United States. Search this site for the dental program closest to you and use the contact information provided to ask about dental services for seniors.
Federal Health Centers
Some federally funded health centers located in rural areas as well as in most cities offer dental services on a sliding fee basis. Not all clinics offer all services, so you must call to determine what medical and dental services they offer and their eligibility requirements. Most require that you pay what you can afford on a sliding fee scale. The Health Resources & Services Administration offers a clinic locator. Type in your address and click the 'Find Health Centers' button to find health centers near you.
Other Dental Resources For Seniors
If you or your elder participates in a Medicare HMO, don't forget to call the plan to see if they offer dental coverage and to get an explanation of benefits if they do.
Unfortunately, traditional Medicare covers only dental surgery. No other dental costs for seniors are covered by Medicare. If you have any doubts, be sure to ask your dentist whether the work you are receiving can be partially or wholly covered by Medicare as dental surgery.