In 2016, 12.7 percent of U.S. households were considered, by federal standards, to be impoverished. Since the impoverished often cannot afford the Affordable Care Act health coverage, and the dental plan offered only in some states with Medicaid is inadequate at best, most of the impoverished have no decent dental care or access to dental clinics that cover more than just the basics. If you are at, or just slightly above the federal poverty guidelines, you likely struggle with more than just oral healthcare problems.
Many oral health issues are directly linked to other physical ailments. If you had access to good dental care that cost very little or was free, some of your other health issues would not exist. If your state Medicaid does not provide any dental coverage, you have even bigger issues. Here is how to find a dental clinic and services that can help.
Clinics with Sliding Scales for Payment
There are many dental clinics that operate on a sliding scale payment arrangement. They are able to do so because they take emergency clients who are often better off financially than most of the other patients. What they do not make in profit, they write off on taxes, which results in a hefty refund for the clinics.
In the meantime, they apply a chart (a.k.a. "sliding scale") to your income and ability to pay. Most services provided cost only a few dollars out of pocket for most families. They will also see patients who are single adults without insurance who do not fit within any one category to receive public assistance and/or afford their own health insurance.
Community Dental Clinics Operating as Charities
There are also dentists who open and operate dental clinics as a charitable resource to the communities in which the dentists reside. These community dental clinics/charities offer services, few questions asked, to those in need of good dental care. Whether you can pay or not makes no difference. Most of the time, these clinics ask for a donation to help others, but if you cannot manage it, you are not expected to donate. You are still able to receive services.
Dental Services on Layaway
Yes, this sounds like such an unusual program, but it works. For example, you already know that you need two dental cleanings each year per family member. Maybe you will need a total of six family cavities repaired. You might even need a crown. You select the services you think you will need, create a "layaway" account, and contribute small amounts of money to this account each week, biweekly, or monthly. You can even create separate accounts for each of these types of services. When the layaway accounts are paid in full, you use the services as needed.