dental care

Free Dental Assistance
by Maegan Simmons (Kings County)

Free dental assistance is more important to some than ever. Dental insurance plans and providers abound and they offer different coverage with their respective restrictions. However, we still cannot overlook the fact that with the current economic crisis, a lot of people can no longer afford the assurance of having a dental insurance plan. Most of them wonder if there is any free dental assistance available.

Whereas before, there was only the matter of low income families to consider, today there are now the no-income sectors. These are the families who once enjoyed well-paying jobs but were suddenly misplaced by company shut-downs and mass layoffs. These sectors could make use of some free dental assistance if there ever there is any available.

The good news is, there are government and non-government units that extend free dental assistance which is unknown to many of the no-income sector. Government dental assistance programs that can help them take care of their dental health care needs during these difficult times are actually available. There are also free dental assistance providers, not only from government agencies but from other private volunteers as well.

Below is a list you might like to checkout:

1. Medicaid and Childrens Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
CHIP or the Childrens Health Insurance Program provides for free vision and dental care for children while some Medicaid program allow dental coverage on the low-cost insurance of eligible low-income families.

Medicaid: 1-800-562-3022 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-562-3022 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
CHIP: 1-877-543-7669

2. American Dental Association— National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped

This free dental assistance is provided for the elderly, the needy and for those who simply lack the funds for medical expenses. Residents of King County can directly benefit from this dental assistance by applying to the program while residents from other counties will have to apply with the national program.

National Donated Dental Services Program:
National Dental Services

3. Mobile Dental Vans

These are dental clinics operated independently by the Washington Dental Association which they call the Smile Mobile. They have their own set of criteria to determine eligibility for the free dental assistance but are often extended to children of low-income families or those who do not have the means to see a dentist. Dental services are provided by teams of local volunteer dental professionals who render dental services at no or low cost. Services provided are fillings and minor oral surgery. You can get in touch with them via the numbers below for inquiries and for an arrangement of dental care.

SmileMobile: 1-800-572-7835, ext. 6303

4. Community Dental Clinics

Every county in Washington has a Community Dental Clinic working independently by having its own sets of eligibility guidelines and cost care. You may call them for inquiries through the following:

SHIBA HelpLine: 1-800-562-6900
Community Health Clinics.

5. Dental Schools

Below is a list of dental hygiene schools who offer free dental assistance, as part of their students' training. You can get in touch with the corresponding numbers to set up a dental appointment:

Clark College, Vancouver: (360) 992-2158
Columbia Basin College, Pasco: (509) 547-0511
Eastern Washington University, Spokane: (509) 368-6510
Lake Washington Technical College, Kirkland: (425) 739-8130
Pierce College, Ft. Steilacoom: (253) 964-6694
Shoreline Community College, Edmonds: (206) 546-4711
Yakima Valley Community College, Yakima: (509) 574-4920

6. University of Washington School of Dentistry

This university offers a full range of dental services although not totally free. The dental services are provided by their students as part of their training and may charge a fee lower by 20% to 40% than what is asked by private practitioners. In addition, patients are given pre-screening examination which costs $11; or you can have it free if you have a DSHS medical coupon.

The cost of a screening is approx. $150. The phone nr to UW is 206-616-6996.
Dental at Washington School of Dentistry

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