How to Go to the Dentist When You Can’t Afford to Go to the Dentist


Artwork: Robin Mead

Tips and ideas from the wonderful members of Social Service Connections for Lyme Disease

๐ŸŒบ “I have a lot of friends that take their vacations in Mexico and get their dental work done there (scroll down for a good Mexico dental story!)”

๐ŸŒบ “Some dental schools offer dental care through their student clinics. We have a local hospital that has one.”

๐ŸŒบ Some dental clinics offer free or low cost dental care.

๐ŸŒบ “I buy an individual dental insurance policy” (Scroll down for a good dental insurance story!)

๐ŸŒบ If you have Medicare, look into supplemental insurance like Medicare Advantage. (Note: May not be worth the price in some circumstances).

๐ŸŒบ What worked for me is getting approved for a Home and Community-Based Waiver Program. This allows you to have Medicaid without counting your spouse’s income.

๐ŸŒบ In some states, Medicaid covers dental care. There are quite a few different ways to qualify for Medicaid even if you have been told you don’t qualify for Medicaid.

๐ŸŒบ In my state, dental is covered through Medicaid. It just takes a lot of tenacity to locate a dentist who will accept it. I found a dentist who is willing to let me pay up front and then they will submit the claim to Medicaid for me to get reimbursed.

๐ŸŒบย DentaQuest lists dentist that accept Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and/or CHIP. (Note: In some states, Medicaid does not pay for dental care for adults, only for children)

๐ŸŒบ “The Department of Health and Human Services publishes a Guide to Low Cost Dental Care.”

Dee Goes to the Dentist in Mexico!

I am in Las Vegas but drive to Yuma, AZ to get dental care in Los Algodones, Mexico. My dentist in Mexico is licensed by the American Dental Association.

To find my dentist, I just googled dentists in Los Algodones, Mexico. I found a great ADA dentist who studied at Harvard. My husband needed a bridge and got estimate here of $3,500. In Mexico, we got it done in four days for $800.

There was no place to stay there. We stay in Yuma, Arizona. 15 minutes from border.ย  We needed to get passports. We saved money and got a vacation!

Rose Buys Dental Insurance

I buy an individual dental insurance policy from Delta Dental. It is $105/year (plus anย  extra $15 the first year). The price is even cheaper if you are a couple (I think $170). You have to select a dentist from their list.

For $105/year, I get two cleanings and a set of bitewings. It covers the whole mouth x-ray every few years. It also gives a discount schedule for more major work that – knock on wood – I have not needed.

Just paying out of pocket for one cleaning would cost as much as my entire plan.


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