Have you had trouble finding affordable dental care? Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover dental services like exams, cleanings, or dentures. Some Medicare Advantage plans offer limited dental benefits, but many seniors are totally without dental insurance, and the expenses can be very considerable! This situation is especially bad when a dental emergency arises and a senior is faced with unexpected expenses that can be hundreds of dollars.
If you are uninsured and would have difficulty paying for dental care, there are several options. It is wise to investigate these alternatives before you develop any acute problem that absolutely requires immediate attention. Because OurSeniors.Net is distributed state-wide in Florida and beyond, it is not possible to list all the possibilities. Instead, here are some suggestions for getting the local help you need.
- The website, FreeDentalCare.us (386)-255-0238 provides a nationwide list of free and sliding scale dental resources. Go to the site, enter your zip code, and see what’s available. Entering an Orlando zip yielded ten free or sliding scale providers with contact information. Examples are Apopka Family Health Care Center (407)-905-8827 and Family Health Source Deltona (386)-202-6025. Results will vary by location.
- Catholic Charities of Central Florida (407-658-1818, ex1069) operates several medical and dental clinics serving the needs of low-income patients. Contact them or see their website for more information. To be eligible, individuals must be uninsured and living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Volunteer professionals provide primary and specialty dental services.
- Florida Free Dental Care Clinics (386)-202-6025 A free website maintained by volunteers. They work hard to make sure the information on these clinics is up to date and accurate. Information provided includes free dental clinics, sliding fee clinics, and low-cost clinics.
- Needy Meds.org Helpline (800)-503-6897. Maintains a dental clinic list for Florida, including 230 free, low-cost, or sliding scale dental clinics in Florida. Website and contact information is provided for each clinic.
- Need Help Paying Bills-Dental Care (863)-784-7020 Lists Florida free and low-cost dental clinics. These are nonprofit or charitable dental clinics, where volunteer dentists or government programs provide free or reduced cost dental care to Florida patients. List includes details, phone numbers, and addresses of the offices. Dental care is given to low-income families, the elderly, uninsured, as well as children or adults in Florida. Medicare and Medicaid patients or those on disability can also get access to free or low-cost dental services.
- Dental Assistance.us (Florida) (352)-732-6599 A directory of providers that displays lowcost dental clinic listings, information, comments, and reviews on these dental clinics.
- Catholic Charities Free Medical Clinics (Tampa Bay Area) (813)-707-7376 Clinic provides dental referrals to uninsured patients.
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is this truer than in dental health. Consistent attention to oral health will prevent minor problems from becoming an expensive emergency. Seniors who are not now getting regular dental care, including routine cleaning and exams, should use information like that above to find low-cost or free providers.
If you live near an urban area, there may be a health training facility that includes dentistry nearby. These programs offer low-cost preventive care by students who are supervised by experienced professionals. Here are some dental and dental hygiene training programs in Florida:
- Daytona State College Dental Hygiene Clinic (DeLand, FL. (386)-785-2060 Daytona State College Dental Hygiene Clinic )
- University of Florida College of Dentistry (Gainesville, FL. (352)-273-6700 Dental Care Appointment)
- Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine (Fort Lauderdale, FL. (954)-678-2273 Nova Dental Care Appointment)
- Valencia College Dental Hygiene Program (Orlando, FL. (407)-582-1305 Valencia Dental Clinic)
- Santa Fe College Dental Programs (Gainesville, FL. (352)-395-5655 Santa Fe Dental Clinic)
- Miami Dade College Dental Hygiene Program (Miami, FL. (305)-237-4142 Miami-Dade Medical Campus)
- St. Petersburg College Dental Hygiene Program (St. Petersburg, FL. (727)-341-3668 St. Petersburg Dental Hygiene Clinic )
Dental conditions that are threats to overall health (abscesses, infections, sepsis, etc.) may require emergency room visits. If the ER providers can offer only symptomatic relief, they may be able to refer to local no-cost dental help.
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