Free Dental Care - Tips for Getting the Care You Deserve
While it may seem impossible right now to get free dental care or taking care of your teeth without racking up an enormous bill you will never be able to pay off, there is one great source of help out there. You just have to know how to find it!
The options for getting dental care when you don't have insurance or a lot of cash on hand are very limited, but that doesn't mean nonexistent.
You could go with a discounted insurance plan, but that can still be quite expensive if you have a large family to care for or if you need more substantial work done to your teeth.
Some private dental practices are now offering one day or weekend a year where they offer free services, but the types of procedures available are extremely limited and once a year simply is not enough when you have real problems that need tended to.
So, where do you turn for free dental care? Is there a source of affordable care that operates year round? The only reliable source of affordable care today is through a dental school where students need hands on experience doing everything from maintenance procedures to more complex procedures.
You can even find free dental care or deep discounts on periodontics and other types of specialty care.
Are Dental School Students Qualified?
This is the biggest question that comes up when people learn that they can get free dental care through a school. They are concerned that the person messing around in their mouth does not really know what they are doing or that they will make a serious mistake.
While this is completely understandable when the person doing the work is a student rather than a professional with many years of experience to their credit, but it is also unnecessary worry. In a dental school, students are not allowed to do any of the more serious operations until they are more advanced and have a lot of experience and knowledge under their belts.
Even then, they are not completely on their own. They do have the assistance and help of skilled faculty members and other teachers who will make sure problems do not arise.
Even if you go to a certified dentist who has been practicing for many years, there is always the risk of a mistake being made. That risk is really not much higher when you go to a dental school, but the expenses will be extremely different!
What Do Students Charge?
Most dental schools offer their services at extremely low prices and some will even have options for free care. Which services are provided completely free and which ones are offered at a discounted rate depends on the type of dental school clinic that you go to.
The free care may be limited to the basic cleaning and other preventative services, but even the more complicated procedures will be at extremely low prices compared to what you would pay any other dentist in your area.
You may find that some dental schools operate on a sliding scale depending on the services needed and/or your income, but there is almost always some option for free dental care.
What Services are Offered in a Dental School?
There are four different types of services offered through a dental school.
The most basic level of care offers teeth cleaning and other very basic preventative services. This type of service is usually where dental hygiene students work and it may include some first year students. This is not a big concern, since the work is rather simple and there is very little room for real mistakes. This is where you are most likely to find completely free dental care. This type of basic clinic is great for getting your children's teeth cleaned, as long as they do not have serious tooth rot or other serious problems.
The next level of care is a clinic setting where dental students who are at least second year perform a variety of dental care services. More complex procedures may be performed in these clinics, but usually only a more advanced third or fourth year student will be authorized to perform that type of service. If you need advanced care that falls under a specialized discipline, then you will likely need to seek the services of a graduate clinic where graduate students are learning and practicing more specialized types of procedures.
The care provided in a specialty field will be more expensive, though you can still expect to get a great discount over the high prices of a regular dentist. Some of the fields that may be considered a specialty include anything that you would have to go to a specialist for when seeing a dentist in a private office. For instance, implants and periodontal work falls into this type of clinic.
Finally, there is always the option of going to a faculty clinic. This is where faculty members within the school perform the procedures, but you are not likely to be offered these services unless you ask. You cannot expect the care provided by a faculty member to be completely free. What you can expect is someone with more experience willing to do the work at lower rates than what is currently going through private dental practices.
If you need more expensive corrective procedures that are not offered free, this is a great way to get an affordable rate while having a more experienced dentist do the work.
Conclusions on Free Dental Care
Each type of clinic will offer different types of services and each will allow students of different skill levels to perform the work. Where you end up going depends largely on the type of care you need.
Of course, taking every member of your family to a basic dental school clinic at least twice a year for a cleaning and check up will great reduce your chances of needing more expensive operations later on.
Preventative care is the best insurance policy you could ever buy!
More on free dental care programs and how to find them.
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