How can I get the dental care I need if I can't afford it and have no dental insurance?

10 answers | Last updated: Nov 25, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I am 65 years old and I have been disabled since 1998. I receive Medicare and a National Guard check. I have no dental insurance and can not afford it. I have been told that I need six teeth that I have left caped. I can not afford the $8,000 that was quoted to me. Are there any schools in Columbia, SC that takes seniors to pratice on.


Expert Answers

The only school of dentistry in South Carolina is the College of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. They see private patients, and could very likely do your dental work for far less than the figure you've been quoted. If it saved you thousands of dollars, it might be worth traveling to Charleston for your dental care.

Medicare doesn't cover any dental work, but if you have low income and few assets (other than your home and a car), it's possible to get some low-cost dental care through Medicaid. To find out about eligibility for Medicaid in South Carolina, contact your local Richland County Medicaid office by calling 803-714-7562 or 803-714-7462.

If you qualify for Medicaid, you can get a list of dentists who accept Medicaid patients by calling the South Carolina Dental Association's toll-free referral service at 800-868-0404.


Community Answers

Susana10 answered...

sorry Joseph, but you answer is not help !!!!!! because Medicaid is a service only very poor people received - but seniors we work very hard for more de 40 years - and we have a Medicare plus Plan D - WE NO COVER FOR DENTAL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????????????? DENTAL SERVICES WILL TAKE ALL OUR MONEY FROM SOCIAL SECURITY , WE STILL WE NEED TO EAT, PAY OUR BILLS,ETC.... COST OF LIVING EVERY DAY INCREASE,INCREASE MORE AND MORE -SENIORS NEED DENTAL CARE !!!!!! AFFORDABLE ------ DENTAL COST IS VERY EXPENSE - NO SENIORS CAN NOT AFFORDED --- i live in austin texas 78748 = please tell me where to GO>>>>>>>>>>


B.ann answered...

I am not yet senior age but am disabled and have Medicare and Medicaid. I was working until recently but still could not afford dental care beyond a few minor things that wiped out all my money but need attending to again. Years ago I spent thousands on root canals that failed, crowns that later came off due to exerting too much pressure to compensate for the teeth missing after the rcs failed... It goes on and on. And the costs are even more exorbitant these days.

But now, for a year and a half I have had a major abscess (and other problems). I cannot afford root canals and crowns. There is no dental school for several hundred miles. The only thing Medicaid covers is an extraction, but if I lose another tooth the few remaining will go too. I'm not that concerned about appearance, but I want to be able to eat! I've had to go to the hospital three times to get antibiotics to stave it off for awhile and there was some concern it had spread to a dangerous level. Why go to a hospital and not a family physician for antibiotics? Because NO general doctor in this area accepts new Medicare or Medicaid patients! My doctor moved and for two years I haven't been able to find one. When you call for an appointment they screen you for insurance, or just outright before they ask for your name or anything else state they don't accept Medicare or Medicaid. How can that even be legal?

I grew up in a middle class household and had good nutrition, hygiene, and regular dental care. I have a master's degree. Still I am living under the poverty line and soon to be toothless! There was a time when I smugly believed this could never happen to me, but now I see how most people who think they're somehow better or exempt are deluded. And if they are lucky or more privileged, they should at least think about their children and grandchildren.

People who try, and people who work hard in their lifetimes, are being driven into poverty by this avaricious system, and the endless cuts to every single program that makes a society civilized, so working people can toil till death and the elderly and sick starve or die from illnesses that would've taken so little to address, all to pay for a few people and huge corporations to get richer and more powerful. Supposedly the worth of any society is measured by how it treats its "weakest" members, so what does it say about our society, that it operates to weaken most of its members in order to benefit a few? And then belittles and blames them for it? I'm SO TIRED OF IT!!!

Thank you Susana for your candor. Everyone should speak up. But I'm sorry to tell you, it looks like there is NOWHERE for you or me or anonymous up there or most of us to go.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Not sure where you are located B.Ann but there is a doctor in Killeen, TX 254-213-2170 who charges $99 for extractions or tooth removals. She doesn't do root canals and crowns but every little bit helps!


A fellow caregiver answered...

SC Medicaid does not cover dental for adults. I think that is crazy considering a lot of people who are on either Medicare or Medicaid are diabetics, and oral health is especially crucial. Depending on where you live in South Carolina, you may want to find out if there are any free dental clinics being hosted; however, your best bet would be the dental college at MUSC in Charleston.


Kenmalcass1 answered...

South carolina medicaid started back covering dental for adults in april 2014. Good luck!!


A fellow caregiver answered...

SC Medicaid (for adults 21+) covers extractions, fillings, cleanings, and ex rays. They do not cover root canals or crowns, etc. I am on regular, low income family Medicaid. I just received a pamphlet from my Healthy Connections Medicaid provider about this. If you are on regular Medicaid you can get up to $750 worth of work done to your teeth that is covered by Medicaid.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Sadly, dental is not covered for adults in SC if their Medicaid plan is Absolute Total Care.


Shrnk answered...

Actually i was told that(adults on full medicaid in sc)we'd use the white healthy connections card for dental visits,$3.40copay per visit,my first appt with provider under this new coverage)is in may, my first choice/select health card is for my medical care/meds,which also has a 3.30-3.40 copays per visit and for each prescription( im disabled)


A fellow caregiver answered...

There is a program called Donated Dental Services, as far as i know you can go to their website and apply to be put on their list of applicants. they take into consideration any illness or disability as well as your monthly income and your monthly expenses. if you are selected to be put on their list they will place you with a dental provider who is a part of their program and they will donate their time and services ( depending on the treatment plan) http://dentallifeline.org -- I hope this information is helpful to you. I worked for a doctor at one time who participated in this program and we were able to help many recipients achieve a pain free and restored smile.