Time to See the Dentist? Affordable Care for Senior Teeth

According to the Administration on Aging, 70 percent of older Americans do not have dental insurance. So a report this week in the Wall Street Journal, “Getting a Grip on Dental Expenses,” caught our attention. The article focuses on dental services for children and older adults. We mined it for details on services for seniorsand did some more poking around, and here’s what we found:

  • A new online resource for seniors The nonprofit Oral Health America recently launched a website, Toothwisdom.org, that aims to be a one-stop shop for older people looking for dental information geared to seniors (check out “Age Related Mouth Changes“) as well as links to lower-cost services. The site offers state-by-state lower-cost and free resources; click on the map to pull up a list of what’s available in your state, including donated dental services for low-income seniors and reduced-cost clinics. Click here to visit Toothwisdom.org
  • A good option in big cities There are 65 accredited dental school school clinics in the US and they all offer lower-cost care. Students perform the work, but since they are directly supervised by college faculty, the care can be better than at a cut-rate dentist’s office.  Click here for a list of accredited colleges on ADEA.org, the American Dental Association’s website
  • Dental discount plans These have come of age and now are a good alternative if you know you need work done. In exchange for an annual fee – between $100 and $150 in the NYC area; less in others – you get discounted treatment at dental offices that accept the plans. Each plan has its own dentist network. The number of plans available from insurers like Aetna and Cigna, as well as from dental-only outfits can be overwhelming – 27 just in NYC – but the online clearing house DentalPlans.com makes it very easy to search by zip and narrow your search by dentist. Click here to visit DentalPlans.com.
  • Coming soon… Currently only in California, you can sign up for a free version of a plan like the ones at Dental Plans.com; you get discounted services without paying an annual fee when you schedule your dental appointment online at Brighter.com. According to the WSJ, Brighter.com will expand nationally in 2014, which should make it a no brainer alternative if your preferred dentist signs up as a provider. Click here to visit Brighter.com.

Have you tried any of these options? Share your experience in the comments below.

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9 comments
  • Jane Sturtevant
    REPLY

    There are two university dental school clinics in New York City: NYU and Columbia. I have used each of them several times. I recommend Columbia without reservation. What is most striking there, to me, is the atmosphere — a happy workplace with enthusiastic workers. I have had only simple procedures done in each place, so I can’t speak to the overall quality of care.

  • Helen graves
    REPLY

    I think you are right if you take good care of your teeth you will probably end up with your own teeth and not with a plate , I know because I have a partial plate also if you take care of them it should help with bad breath

  • Rhonda
    REPLY

    This is a very interesting article of importance to a lot of Seniors that don’t have Dental Insurance and are experiencing dental problems. Thanks for addressing this issue!

    • Sharilyn
      REPLY

      This a very informative article. I learned about several options for dental care that I will have to check into further. Seniors relying on Social Security to live on often cannot afford dental care, so, this may offer some other solutions.

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