Dental Care: Can You Get Treatment Using Medicaid?

The cost of dental care isn’t cheap in the US.

Standard teeth cleaning fees range from $70 to $200. A usual tooth extraction could be $75 to $450, and a typical but complicated procedure could cost from $1,000 to $3,000. When your finances are limited, even the lowest end of dental care cost can be too much to manage. It makes sense to learn what your Medicaid can cover and whether your state elected to provide it.

Medicaid Coverage for Dental Treatment

Every state determines dental benefits for adults under Medicaid. It falls under optional services, so some states may elect not to provide it under the government-sponsored program. About 35 states will offer limited dental benefits, at least, beyond emergency services under Medicaid. Fewer than half the states provide dental care for adults that is extensive.

If your state covers dental care, your dentist may charge a small co-payment.

For children (or adults under 21), however, dental services are required for most. They benefit from a mandatory Medicaid program called Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT). Those under 21 may receive treatment for pain and infection, dental restoration teeth, and dental health maintenance.

So you can use Medicaid to take your kids to a dentist, and you will need to check with your state about coverage. States like Arizona offer emergency dental services under the program, with eligible members entitled $1,000 per year per contract to receive dental care extractions. That is on top of $1,000 coverage for medically necessary diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic care.

But not all dentists in states that have elected dental services accept the government-funded program.

Limitations and Options to Financing Dental Care

girl on dental braces check up

But certain cities have a limited number of dentists who do accept Medicaid. Arizona’s Scottsdale, for example, currently only shows three dental clinics that take the government-funded health insurance, whereas Sun City shows 12.

Only 38 percent of dentists in the US accept Medicaid. And if you’re in a city with such limitations, you do have other ways to finance a dental treatment. Government dental coverage isn’t the only way to ensure your dental health.

Prominent dentists, like Rod W. Gore DDS, offer payment plans to patients. Payment plans allow you to manage the cost of specific procedures, from tooth extraction to root canal, over time. Some dentists offer weekly or monthly payments.

So even when you don’t have insurance, you can still receive quality dental care with the right dentists.

Another option would be to find government-run clinics that are funded by taxpayers. These clinics provide dental services, including teeth cleaning, root canal, and crowns, at a low cost. If the low cost still seems a bit too much, try nonprofit clinics that provide services at prices based on your ability to pay.

If you have absolutely no budget, try free dental clinics operated by charitable groups and faith-based organizations. These clinics tend to serve those with specific income brackets, older adults, and those with disabilities. You may have to be put on a waitlist.

Dental care can be expensive. But you can get treatment with Medicaid and in any number of low-cost to free clinics in your city.

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