Where To Find Low-Cost Dental Clinics in Philadelphia

Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Where To Find Low-Cost Dental Clinics in Philadelphia

Receiving regular dental treatment is critical for not only your oral health but also your overall health. Unfortunately, about one-quarter of people in the U.S. don’t have dental insurance. This lack of coverage can put regular visits to a dental office—let alone emergency or complicated care—out of reach. Dental care is the most commonly delayed or skipped medical care due to cost, according to Kaiser Family Foundation research.

A low-cost dental clinic can offer dental care for adults without insurance so they get the services they need. Such clinics can help close the large gaps in Americans’ oral health. However, there are other options available to people in the Philadelphia area who need dental coverage.

Low-cost Dental Clinics and 5 More Options For Affordable Dental Care

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lists a variety of possible resources for low-cost and affordable dental care:

1. Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP

A young woman is at a low-cost dental clinic for a dental exam.Dental coverage varies under these three federally funded health insurance programs.

Medicare: This is a program for patients age 65 and older or with specific disabilities, but it doesn’t cover most routine dental care or dentures. However, Medicare Part A will pay for certain dental services performed in a hospital and hospital stays occasioned by the need for emergency or complicated dental procedures. Some private Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may include dental insurance. Contact your company to find out.

Medicaid: This is a state-run program that sometimes provides dental benefits. Eligibility guidelines vary from state to state, but most provide limited emergency dental treatment for patients age 21 and older. Most patients younger than 21 can receive dental services under Medicaid.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): This service usually provides dental coverage to patients age 19 and younger. Exact services vary by state. At a minimum, covered dental services must include relief of pain and infection, teeth restoration, and dental health maintenance.

2. Federally Qualified Health Centers

A little boy smiles while visiting a low-income dental clinic in Philadelphia. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) provides healthcare to people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. These groups include “people with HIV, pregnant people, mothers, and their families, those with low incomes, residents of rural areas, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and those otherwise unable to access high-quality health care.”

HRSA funds community-based Federally Qualified Health Centers nationwide where patients in underserved areas receive primary and preventative healthcare, including dental treatment. HRSA centers provide services based on a sliding fee scale. You must meet eligibility requirements to qualify.

3. State and Local Health Departments

Pennsylvania’s state, county, or municipal health department may offer or be able to tell you about free or affordable dental care for adults without dental insurance, possibly including low-income dental clinics. Call these community health departments and ask. If you can, sign up for their email distribution lists. You may find an affordable option closer to home than you thought.

4. Clinical Trials

The National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) recruit volunteers with specific conditions for various clinical trials. Participants may receive limited low-cost or free dental care related to the conditions under study.

5. United Way

The United Way advocates for accessible and affordable healthcare for all Americans, regardless of income. While it doesn’t offer free or low-cost dental care itself, it may point you to a low-income dental clinic or other sources of free or reduced-cost services in the Philadelphia area.

6. Dental Schools Offer Affordable, High-Quality Dental Care

A man with a short, clipped beard smiles after his successful visit to a low-cost dental clinic in Philadelphia.HHS lists one more potential source of affordable dental care. It states that dental schools “can be a good source of quality, reduced-cost dental treatment.”

Dental schools offer affordable care because tomorrow’s dentists and dental hygienists need clinical experience to master their skills. They work under the close supervision of licensed, experienced dental professionals. This is the case at Philadelphia’s Penn Dental Medicine (PDM), as shown by our connection to the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine students and faculty.

Teaching clinics at dental schools are more likely than low-income dental clinics to use state-of-the-art techniques and materials. They’re certainly more likely to develop and use innovative methods pioneered by the very professors overseeing the student dentists. Teaching clinics don’t charge what established dental practices do. In fact, at PDM, costs can be 50% to 70% less for high-quality care.

Additionally, because dental schools are permanent fixtures in their communities, patients don’t have to worry about dependability. They make and keep appointments as they would at any regular dental office.

First-time Penn Dental Medicine Patients Get $25 off Their Visit

If you’re looking for a low-cost dental clinic in Philadelphia, consider PDM. First-time patients can save on their dental care immediately—with $25 off their first visit. Download your coupon here. Then, when you’re ready to make an appointment, call us at 215-898-8965, and we’ll get you scheduled right away for dental care that fits your budget and keeps your smile healthy.

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