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Need dental treatment in U.S. but can't pay for it

K

kacyyface

Junior member
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
5
I'm 23 and all of my teeth are bad, thanks to genetics (my whole family has dental issues, on both sides) and dental phobia's because my teeth are so horrible. My dental issues caused major anxiety early in life, and I dropped out of high school at 17, I've had one job since and my anxieties got the best of me and I quit within months of starting. My teeth have been getting worse as each year passes, and now I deal with an absess popping up somewhere and causing pain on a regular basis. The pain I go through just to eat is ridiculous, which resulted in me losing 100+ pounds (after attempting to diet for years unsuccessfully) because I am forced to starve myself when the pain is too much. With the new health care reform I am now covered by my parents health insurance, though unfortunately dental is not covered. I don't know what to do, I'm afraid because I have health insurance I won't be able to get help covering my dental needs. My family and fiance said they'd help to pay for my dentures, but getting my teeth extracted is going to be quite expensive and I can't see it happening. I guess what I want to know is, does anyone know of any way to get help paying for all of the work I need done? Like a program or something? Please help! :(
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
6,327
Re: Where do I start????

I assume you're in the US then. Contact your State Board for Dentistry and ask them if they know of any dentists offering reduced cost or "pro bono" treatment.

Alternatively if there's a dental school near you then you can get reduced cost treatment from them.

Actually, thanks for asking this, it comes up a lot from people in the USA so we'll make this a sticky if you don't mind.
 
K

kacyyface

Junior member
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
5
Re: Where do I start????

I assume you're in the US then. Contact your State Board for Dentistry and ask them if they know of any dentists offering reduced cost or "pro bono" treatment.

Alternatively if there's a dental school near you then you can get reduced cost treatment from them.

Actually, thanks for asking this, it comes up a lot from people in the USA so we'll make this a sticky if you don't mind.

You're correct, I'm in New York State. I've heard of getting low cost treatment from dental schools, but I'm terrified I'd surely be the worst they've seen so I'm too embarrassed to attempt that. I'll look into the Board of Dentistry as you suggested. Thanks so much for your response. And of course, I would not mind this being a sticky.
 
carole

carole

Super Moderator
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,914
Location
UK
Re: Where do I start????

Please don't worry, your teeth will not be the worst that any dentist has seen, so don't be embarrassed if you have a dental school near you think about giving it a try as well as contacting the board of dentistry.

Most people when they haven't been to the dentist for some years are embarrassed and think that their mouth is the worst thing and that it will send a dentist running for cover. This is not so, they have seen it all and are there waiting and wanting to help you get a healthy mouth and get you out of pain.

I wish you all the best :grouphug:
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,193
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Re: Where do I start????

I am in the US as well (Massachusetts) and I also have known many, many people without dental insurance or access to funds to pay for dental treatment. Here are 2 options:

1. Contact a local dental school. If you want to send me a message and let me know where you are Upstate, I will be happy to do a quick search for you to see if I can figure out what some of your options may be. I know you think that your teeth would be the "worse they've ever seen", but that will not be the case. I think that most of us on this forum have though that when going back to the dentist after years of not going. At a dental school, they see EVERYTHING... and, they need to see everything in order to learn how to treat all the problems that can occur. I have had a number of friends who have reported getting excellent care at dental schools.

2. Many private dentists work with a company called Care Credit. This allows you to finance some or all of your dental work and pay it off over time. I don't know all of the details, but my understanding is that, sometimes, it is interest-free for a period of time. You have to be careful with these plans though b/c if you don't pay off the balance in the interest-free period, you can end up having to pay all of the interest that would have accrued during that period.

Whatever you do, please be very careful if you are considering going to any of the dentistry chains (like Aspen Dental, etc.). There have been numbers news items related to these chains and none of them are good.

In the US, even if you were uninsured and qualified for your NY's Medicaid program, dental may still not be covered. Some extractions (if you do end up needing them -- so many people on this forum go to the dentist assuming that they will need to have all of their teeth extracted and find out that they can be repaired) may be covered by your medical insurance -- so it may be worth looking into that as well.

Best of luck to you!
 
C

comfortdentist

Well-known member
Verified dentist
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
2,881
Location
Miami, Fl
Re: Where do I start????

I am in the US as well (Massachusetts) and I also have known many, many people without dental insurance or access to funds to pay for dental treatment. Here are 2 options:

1. Contact a local dental school. If you want to send me a message and let me know where you are Upstate, I will be happy to do a quick search for you to see if I can figure out what some of your options may be. I know you think that your teeth would be the "worse they've ever seen", but that will not be the case. I think that most of us on this forum have though that when going back to the dentist after years of not going. At a dental school, they see EVERYTHING... and, they need to see everything in order to learn how to treat all the problems that can occur. I have had a number of friends who have reported getting excellent care at dental schools.

2. Many private dentists work with a company called Care Credit. This allows you to finance some or all of your dental work and pay it off over time. I don't know all of the details, but my understanding is that, sometimes, it is interest-free for a period of time. You have to be careful with these plans though b/c if you don't pay off the balance in the interest-free period, you can end up having to pay all of the interest that would have accrued during that period.

Whatever you do, please be very careful if you are considering going to any of the dentistry chains (like Aspen Dental, etc.). There have been numbers news items related to these chains and none of them are good.

In the US, even if you were uninsured and qualified for your NY's Medicaid program, dental may still not be covered. Some extractions (if you do end up needing them -- so many people on this forum go to the dentist assuming that they will need to have all of their teeth extracted and find out that they can be repaired) may be covered by your medical insurance -- so it may be worth looking into that as well.

Best of luck to you!
Fearful is absolutely right about chains in the USA. Don't call them unless you want more problems.
 
K

kacyyface

Junior member
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
5
Re: Where do I start????

I am in the US as well (Massachusetts) and I also have known many, many people without dental insurance or access to funds to pay for dental treatment. Here are 2 options:

1. Contact a local dental school. If you want to send me a message and let me know where you are Upstate, I will be happy to do a quick search for you to see if I can figure out what some of your options may be. I know you think that your teeth would be the "worse they've ever seen", but that will not be the case. I think that most of us on this forum have though that when going back to the dentist after years of not going. At a dental school, they see EVERYTHING... and, they need to see everything in order to learn how to treat all the problems that can occur. I have had a number of friends who have reported getting excellent care at dental schools.

2. Many private dentists work with a company called Care Credit. This allows you to finance some or all of your dental work and pay it off over time. I don't know all of the details, but my understanding is that, sometimes, it is interest-free for a period of time. You have to be careful with these plans though b/c if you don't pay off the balance in the interest-free period, you can end up having to pay all of the interest that would have accrued during that period.

Whatever you do, please be very careful if you are considering going to any of the dentistry chains (like Aspen Dental, etc.). There have been numbers news items related to these chains and none of them are good.

In the US, even if you were uninsured and qualified for your NY's Medicaid program, dental may still not be covered. Some extractions (if you do end up needing them -- so many people on this forum go to the dentist assuming that they will need to have all of their teeth extracted and find out that they can be repaired) may be covered by your medical insurance -- so it may be worth looking into that as well.

Best of luck to you!


Thank you for your help. Its funny you mentioned Aspen Dental, as that is where I went the last time I went to a dentist at 16 and the experience left both my mother and I in tears. The dentist made me feel disgusting for having such bad teeth, made snide remarks when I said I wanted to keep my gap (it's very prominent, but my gap is the ONLY thing I like about my teeth) and point blank blamed my mother for the fact that I was in this mess, before informing us both that I would be toothless by 25. I had something like a thousand dollar credit or w/e but when I called them to make another appointment with a different dentist, they said the dentist I had seen was the only one there, & he wasn't comfortable working with me. If I didn't already have issues with dentists, that experience alone would have created one.
I do know all of my teeth have to be extracted, as most of the back teeth are broken to the gumline, and I don't want to deal with any possible issues down the road. I want kids in the future, and I refuse to carry a child knowing I have nonstop toxins in my body. Dentures are my only option.
I will definitely look into dental schools, though. I just have to keep telling myself that while the process of getting my teeth fixed may suck and take me completely out of my comfort zone, in the end my life will be better because of it. Thank you so much for posting :)
 
Last edited:
K

kittykat

Guest
Where do I start????

I am not at all a fan of dental chains. Never consider one of those. They're horrible and staffed with very unfriendly and incompetent people...
 
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