Free Dental Care for Adults: A Complete Guide

Updated: November 9, 2022
free dental care for adults

Adult dental treatment includes preventative procedures like X-rays, exams, and cleanings, as well as any extra services that may be required, such as fillings and root canals. It could be difficult to pay cash at a private dentist’s office if you require dental care but don’t currently have dental insurance. However, there are lots of solutions that offer those in need affordable options. Even free dental care for adults exists.

Take a look at the choices below to see if they can help you get the dental treatment you require.


Medicaid benefits

Individuals and families that satisfy certain income and other qualifying conditions can enroll in Medicaid, a state-run program that provides health and dental insurance.

Medicaid may pay for routine cleanings and X-rays, but if you’re over 21, your access to emergency services will be more restricted.

If Medicaid were authorized, you would use the coverage at a dentist’s office, just like private dental insurance. Medicaid is accepted by more than 40% of dentists in the US, but you should call the practice to confirm before your visit to make sure.

Homeless health insurance is also a n option that can be checked for fee dental care.


Veterans Affairs Dental insurance program (VADIP)

The US Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to provide you with dental benefits if you are a veteran (VA). You will be informed of the services that might be funded if your application for VA dental benefits is granted.

Depending on your status and service, you can be eligible for one-time benefits, limited treatment, or even full coverage. You can also check Cigna plus dental insurance review to get an idea.

Additionally, you might be eligible for treatment from a local VA dental clinic.


Dental colleges

Even if you are not qualified for Medicaid services, dental schools may still be able to provide you with low cost cleanings, X-rays, and fillings.

Aspiring dentists and dental hygienists must carry out these procedures on actual patients as part of their training. Licensed dentists oversee every service. By using these services, you get skilled care while paying far less than you would at a private dentist’s practice.

You can find a list of your state’s dental and dental hygiene colleges with their addresses and phone numbers. An appointment must be scheduled in advance. Additionally, it’s crucial to inquire upfront about fees because they certainly differ between institutions and regions.


Community clinics for health

Community health clinics are another potential source for low-cost dental care and dental schools. The National Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) oversees these clinics intending to provide health services to low-income individuals and families.

Depending on the area, a community health clinic might provide discounted cleanings and other preventive services.

You should look out for a clinic near you and call them as soon as possible because appointments frequently fill up in advance. You can also contact the national hotline at (877) 464-4722 for extra assistance (ASK-HRSA).


Neighborhood dental events

Community dental events may give these services for free, whereas community health clinics offer dental treatment at a discounted cost.

These are provided free of charge and are handled by volunteer dentists on a first-come, first-served basis. Depending on the event, you might even get free dental supplies and instructional materials to keep your mouth healthy.

The drawback of community dental events is that they might only be presented infrequently. By contacting 211, you might be able to ask the United Way about forthcoming events in your neighborhood.


Network for Dental Lifeline

A nonprofit company, The Dental Lifeline Network, is present in each of the 50 states. This nonprofit’s mission is to help those who can’t afford dental treatment, have a disability, are over 65, or are in poor health receive it for free. This is done with the use of donated dental services.


When to go to the dentist

Dental X-rays should ideally be taken once a year, and cleanings and examinations should be scheduled twice a year. Additionally, you must visit your dentist if any ominous signs appear. Any indications of an oral health issue should not be ignored because they might quickly worsen.

If you encounter any of the following, consult a dentist:

  • Sensitive gums
  • Toothache
  • Gum bleeding
  • Discomfort when drinking or eating
  • Persistent mouth ulcers
  • Missing or broken teeth
  • Oral swollen areas
  • Hygiene advice

With routine dental visits, trying your best to care for your mouth at home is crucial. You can maintain the health of your teeth and gums by:

  • Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
  • Brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums softly using a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Flossing each day
  • If you frequently get cavities or have gingivitis, think about using mouthwash.
  • Cutting back on the intake of sugary meals and beverages
  • Consuming as much plain water as feasible


Treatment Options for Free Dental Care

You might be eligible for free dental care through your city or state government or a local nonprofit group if you’re unemployed, underemployed, or have a low income. Unfortunately, many community centers, clinics, and nonprofit organizations have lengthy waiting lists.

Although enrolling in routine dental care when offered may benefit you in the long run, they are unlikely to be of assistance if you require acute dental care.

The following organizations specifically provide free dental care:

  • The mission of Mercy (MOM): This group provides mobile clinics that offer medical services, such as dental care and prescription drugs. The organization says that MOM is the only way to access healthcare for many members.
  • Remote Area Medical (RAM) Volunteer Corps: This nonprofit group relies on volunteers to operate its free medical and pop-up dental clinics throughout the US. RAM also started providing telehealth support during the COVID-19 epidemic, which can be particularly helpful for those who might be eligible for affordable dental care but are apprehensive about visiting a clinic.
  • Dental Lifeline: This organization offers complete, free dental care to the most disadvantaged Americans, including the elderly, those with permanent impairments, and those who are medically fragile. Each state offers a variety of program possibilities.
  • America’s Dentists Care Foundation (ADCF): It runs two-day mobile dentistry clinics in several US cities. These adult-only clinics are often booked.

Another group of dentists that give their time at free dental clinic events takes the form of Dentistry from the Heart. If you require an evaluation and basic treatment, check for updates on their calendar, which includes forthcoming clinics.


How to Locate Additional Free Dental Care Options in Your Community?

Options for free, charitable, or nonprofit dental care will differ by region. There might not be many in your city, but more in your county, for instance. You can search by region in United Way’s database of dental charities to identify a prospective charity option.

The ADA also maintains an interactive map of nearby, high-caliber, free dental facilities. Click on your state to locate charitable or nonprofit groups that provide dental care.

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics (NAFCC), which maintains an updated list of numerous charitable, free, and nonprofit organizations that provide a variety of medical treatments to those in need, is another helpful website. Enter your zip code to discover the closest choices, including dental care.


Zero Cost Dental Insurance

Medicare and Medicaid provide minimal dental coverage for individuals in need. People up to the age of 19 are also covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), allowing teenagers and even certain first-year college students to receive assistance for dental procedures like braces or wisdom teeth extraction.

  • Since state governments manage Medicaid, each may have slightly different policies or choices for access to dental care. While a few states provide complete dental coverage for those unemployed, disabled from working or having poor incomes, most states provide emergency dental care for anyone 21 years of age and older. Medicaid also offers a variety of options for dental insurance for kids.
  • For people 65 and older, Medicare is a federal health care program. The program does not cover comprehensive dental care. Still, it will pay for the costs of tooth extractions necessary to prepare the jaw for radiation therapy and major injuries requiring jaw reconstruction.


Affordable dental insurance and care

Many people earn enough money to be eligible for affordable dental care choices rather than free dental coverage or treatment. Depending on where you are, there are several alternatives.

You might phone and inquire about the services offered at a dentist’s office in your area, for instance, which may give sliding scale or affordable care to some patients. If they do not provide financial assistance, they might be able to suggest a dentist, charitable organization, or charity that does.

You will likely find simple treatment choices through a nearby dental training program at a college or university in your neighborhood. When performing cleanings, extractions, root canals, and other operations, dental students are closely overseen by their instructors, ensuring that they receive high-quality care for oral health issues like cavities or tartar accumulation. To find out if the dental programs in your neighborhood higher education institutions require volunteer patients, you can check their websites by going to:

  • The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) page on the American Dental Association’s website to find reputable dental schools in your area.
  • The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) page to look for local schools in need of volunteers to assist with student training

If your employer does not offer a dental plan, you can get dental insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces based on your income level. To maintain a healthy mouth, everyone requires regular dental treatment, and having dental insurance is the best way to access such care. Through your state or the federal marketplace, you can choose a plan that offers everything you need at a price you can afford.



Even if you don’t already have coverage, there are still methods to get access to discounted or even free services. Dental insurance helps to cover a portion of your dental care costs.

To start, you can check to see if you qualify for dental care benefits through state programs like Medicaid. Additionally, you might be qualified for assistance provided by charitable groups or nearby medical clinics. Schools for dentistry and dental hygiene also provide treatments at subsidized prices.

No matter which solution you choose, you must visit the dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned. Keep up with your dental hygiene in between appointments to help avoid more issues.


Frequently asked questions

In the USA, is dental treatment free?

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (1-888-Ask-HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care supports federally-funded community health centers across the nation that offer free or reduced-cost medical services, including dental care.


Which state offers the most affordable dental care?

Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas have the lowest dental care prices. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the highest dental treatment expenses.


In Texas, how can I receive free dental care?

Finding dental services in your region should start by dialing 2-1-1 or visiting You can use the guided search or the online locator to find dentistry programs in your region by entering your zip code. Assistance is offered around-the-clock, seven days a week, in more than 90 different languages.


In Texas, does Medicaid cover dental care for adults?

It is accessible statewide and includes cleanings, fillings, crowns, and root canals. Through MCNA Dental, adults and children can receive Texas Medicaid dental coverage.


Do I qualify for free dental care on my state pension?

Dental care is completely free if you or your partner are eligible for any of these benefits. Pension Credit’s guarantee credit component. Income Assistance. Employment and Support Allowance based on income.


Can you afford to pay for dental care monthly?

Yes, private dentists frequently provide payment plans to assist spread out the cost of dental care. You might also have a defined monthly budget that covers your dental requirements for the entire year. This way, you can plan your finances and feel secure knowing you won’t ever have to worry about a hefty dental bill.


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