Friday, May 3, 2013

Dental Care Options During Trying Financial Times

Dental Care Options During Trying Financial Times
The reality is that many people who do not have dental insurance or the means to pay for services will not visit the dentist. In these trying economic times hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs and their dental insurance along with them. Even those who are fortunate enough to still be employed view dental care as something you get if you absolutely need it. Generally, dental services are viewed by most as a response to an immediate dental condition, such as a cavity, and not a preventative measure, such as mammograms and colon cancer screening.

In the United States, dental care is expensive. Even those who are gainfully employed struggle with their dental co-payments. If they get a cavity it will only be fixed once they can save up the money to do it. Some of them will choose to pay $50 to pull a tooth with a small cavity, because filling the cavity costs $150.

There is also segment of the population who, despite the severity of the situation, cannot afford dental care. These are the people who cannot afford their rent or food for their family if they have to get a tooth pulled. There are literally millions of people who are in this category. They rely on home remedies and over the counter medication like pain killers to relieve the pain, but the pain never really goes away. There are many resources available at the local, state, and Federal level to assist.

This article has been written to examine the dental care options that are available to the general public.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are health related research studies using people. Clinical trials follow a strict protocol and are highly regulated by the Federal Government and the FDA. Every year, thousands of patients participate in clinical trials. Dental clinical trials have led to new technologies in fluoride treatments, safety findings, such as the use of mercury fillings, and new materials for prosthetic devices. Clinical trials take dental patients on a volunteer basis to test out new dental procedures. The benefits to the patient are that they gain free access to new dental treatments before they are available to the general public. All services are at no cost and, sometimes, the patient is compensated for their time. There are certain qualifying and exclusionary guidelines for patients seeking to be a part of each individual clinical trial. In general, dental clinical trials are extremely safe and a great benefit to both the patient and the community at large.

Dental School Clinics

Dental schools practice on real patients. The dental student or resident performs the procedures with a faculty member overseeing the work. The faculty member is a licensed dentist with a substantial amount of practical experience.  They ensure that the patient is given quality care. The dental student will do a complete overview of your health and dental history and perform routine services such as x-rays. Most dental schools offer free and low cost services to the community. The only drawback to obtaining services at a dental school clinic is that the process of submitting an application to the school, being screened and then finally receiving treatment is a bit longer than obtaining services from a neighborhood dentist. If you are in need of emergency dental care, a dental school clinic will not be the most practical option for you.

Non Profit and Governmental agencies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offer dental plans to low income families. The United Way also has referral services to low cost and no cost dentists in the local community. The service qualifications vary from agency to agency. Some have very liberal income requirements and others offer substantially reduced fees, with no qualifying necessary. Many of these agencies are overlooked by people because they assume that they will not qualify for services based on their income, employment, or citizenship status. This could not be farther from the truth. The agencies offering the care serve a broad spectrum of the community, not only a narrow scope of those who fit a certain profile.

It should be noted that, in response to the economic downturn, neighborhood dentists are now offering low cost financing options and some offer no cost payment plans.

If you need to see a dentist, do not put it off. A little research can uncover a wealth of resources and enable you to afford the care that you and your family need.

No comments:

Post a Comment