Dental Care

Medicare * Medicaid * CHIP * Supplemental Income

Dental Services, Dental Benefits and Low-cost Dental Care

Although the Federal Government does not provide financial assistance and grants for dental treatments and does not offer free dental care programs for all, the following nationwide resources may help you find the dental care you need.

Dental Schools, Clinical Trials, Bureau of Primary Health Care, Local Dentists, Local Dental Clinics

Low-income individuals can find affordable dental care at Schools of Dental Medicine, which in general offer comprehensive dental services at extended hours. Most dental schools in the USA offer a full range of general, specialty and emergency dental care and can be a source of good quality dental treatment at a reduced cost. Patients are treated by dental students that are supervised by experienced and licensed dentists.

Dental hygiene schools may also offer supervised, low-cost preventive dental care as part of the training experience for dental hygienists.

To find out if there are schools of dentistry or dental hygiene in your area, call your state dental society or association. These organizations are listed in your telephone book.

For a complete list of dental schools, visit the American Dental Association web site here.

To locate dental hygiene schools, check the American Dental Hygienists’ Association web site.

You can also contact the National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse at:

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse
1 NOHIC Way Bethesda, Maryland 20892–3500

Bureau of Primary Health Care
Clinical Trials

Clinical trial participation can be another option for free or reduced-cost dental treatments for patients with teeth and other oral problems. One federally funded (through research and project grants) organization that conducts dental clinical trials is the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

The NIDCR sometimes seeks volunteers with specific dental, oral, and craniofacial conditions to participate in its research studies, also known as clinical trials. Researchers may provide study participants with limited free or low-cost dental treatment for the particular condition they are studying.

To find out if there are any National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research clinical trials that you might fit into, visit the NIDCR web site here and click on “Clinical Trials.”

You can search for trials conducted on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus and at institutions across the country or search by a dental or medical condition, treatment, or sponsor.

For a complete list of all federally funded clinical trials, visit Clinical Trials.

Dental care that is free or at a reduced cost can be found at some of the federally-funded community health care centers across the country managed by the Bureau of Primary Health Care, a service of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). HRSA health centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Among other basic healthcare services, health centers provide dental care and treatment to low-income patients. Health centers are situated in most cities and many rural areas. Type in your address and click the ‘Find Health Centers’ button to find health centers near you.

To obtain a list of centers in your area, contact the Health Resources and Services Administration Information Center toll-free at 1–888–Ask–HRSA (1–888–275–4772)
visit their web site here.

Find a Local Dental School here


Health Center near you here

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) runs three important federally funded programs: Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Medicare is a health insurance program for people who are 65 years and older or for people with specific disabilities. Medicare does not cover most routine dental care or dentures. Visit Medicare Dental Coverage or call 1–800–MEDICARE (1–800–633–4227).

Medicaid is a state-run program that provides medical benefits – and in some cases dental benefits – to eligible individuals and families. Most states provide limited emergency dental services for adults, while some offer comprehensive services. Visit the Medicaid Dental Care Benefits page or call 1–877–267–2323 to learn more.

CHIP, also a state-run program, is for children in families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance. CHIP provides dental services to children up to age 19. Dental services covered under this program vary from state to state. To find children’s dental care programs in your state, click here or call 1–877–KIDS–NOW (1–877–543–7669).

State and Local Resources

Your state or local health department may know of programs in your area that offer free or reduced-cost dental care. Call your local or state health department to learn more about their financial assistance programs. In many states, you can also call 2–1–1 to find services in your area.

United Way

The United Way may be able to direct you to free or reduced-cost dental services in your community. Visit the United Way web site at  and type your zip code in the top right box next to “Find Your Local United Way.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Check Frequently Asked Questions at the Food and Nutrition Services website.