In the U.S., most people are pretty good about seeing a dentist at least once a year. IN 2017, about 127.6 million adults went to the dentist, which is about more than half. The rate is even better when it comes to children, with nearly 85% seeing a dentist in 2017. However, that still leaves more than 100 million people who do not see a dentist regularly, which can lead to complications such as cavities and lost teeth. There can be a number of reasons why people don’t see the dentist — fear, lack of education, cost. One of the most common is cost, as dental care can be expensive if you don’t have insurance. For those who are worried about cost, there are options.
If you live in a large city or county, there may be a public dental clinic offered by the local health departments. These typically occur a few times a year or they may even be offered monthly. You typically have to have to prove that you qualify to get the free care, such as being on Medicaid or some form of assistance. These clinics typically offer preventive care and minor procedures such as filling cavities, and they are done by licensed dental professionals.
Another option for free care that’s typically only available in larger cities is a dental school clinic. These are dental clinics put on by a university dental college to help its upper-level students get hands-on dental training. The work done at dental school clinics typically consists of exams and minor work. It is done by dental students to get real-world experience, and they are overseen by professors and other dental professionals. These dental school clinics typically are done a couple of times a year at the college, although some may be held at satellite sites in smaller towns.
If neither of these free choices is an option for you, you may be able to get a reduced rate at a regular dentist. Many dentists will offer free or reduced cleanings and checkups for new customers. You also might be able to go to a national chain discount dentist if there is one near you. This can allow you to at least get one cleaning for a reasonable price.
Dental care is not something you should go without, as poor oral health can lead to other, more serious health problems. There are a number of options for getting free or low-cost care, and you should investigate your options.