A couple years ago, a friend was unemployed and needed an emergency cheap tooth extraction and had no insurance. Now, we all know there’s no such thing as free or low cost dental work. It is expensive — even when you have insurance and are employed.
She did some calling around to local dentists trying to find a way to get an affordable emergency tooth extraction without going broke. I also helped her brainstorm a few options, which I’d like to share with you.
Call around to find a sliding scale dentist
My friend lived in a small town and went to the same dentist for years. If the dentist knows his patients need desperate dental work done in an emergency and can’t afford to pay the full amount, he serves as a sliding scale dentist.
He would rather take a percentage of what you can pay and receive it, rather than never receive any money or have to spend resources on collections.
Because it’s a small town, he is more in tune with the community and has an idea of low income families there and can offer hardship programs that allow low cost tooth extractions.
Also, he offers a cash price that is substantially lower than what many people would expect if they were paying with insurance.
The key is this: Call around and ask about prices. Tell the receptionist you don’t have any insurance and ask about cash prices and is the dentist is willing to work on a sliding scale if you qualify.
Discounts at dental schools
Dental students cut their teeth in the profession by practicing on patients. These are teaching facilities where students gain experience practicing on patients under the supervision of experienced, licensed dentists.
Although you probably won’t get your teeth pulled for free, these facilities may offer you low cost dental care.
The best way to find a school of dentistry is to use the phone book or go the American Dental Association’s website and find schools near you and start calling.
State and local resources: ‘Free dental care near me’
Local and state health departments may have resources for free or low cost tooth extraction. There may be financial assistance programs that will help you get the care you need.
Another resource is the United Way. This organization offers assistance in local communities. They may know of a dentist near you that offers free or reduced cost services.
Dentistry from the Heart offers free dental care for low income, uninsured people in need.
DFTH holds events throughout the U.S., which are staffed by dentists, hygienists, and other volunteers who offer their time and resources to help you improve your smile.
Their procedures may be limited.
Dentists in Los Algodones?
I read an article on kpbs.org that indicated Los Algodones is a small Mexican town that caters to cheap dental care for Americans.
The town is only 5 blocks long and features hundreds of Mexican dentists — all of which specialize in their practice, from root canals to crowns to tooth removals.
If you are willing to make the trip, do your research on the practitioners, you might be able to get your care at about 1/3 the price.
Although I don’t have much info about it, there are stories on the web (see: “Getting Dental Work in Mexico”) about people who have made the trip.
I hope this list provides you with ideas about how to get a cheap tooth extraction no insurance.