Make Payment Arrangements
If you know your dentist well, ask about payment arrangements or discounts. Your dentist may be willing to accept a percentage of your balance due over several months or even a year or more. He may also agree to offer his services at a discount in exchange for up-front payment. If your dentist says, "No", contact others to see if they will agree to a payment plan. Even if they aren't, you can find out if their rates are lower than those of your current dentist.
Spread Treatments Over Time
If a payment plan is out, ask your dentist if it is possible to perform the needed work in stages. While delaying treatment can be unpleasant, this process can allow you to pay for dental work as you receive it. In addition, if you do your part and consistently show up to have work done, and pay for it at the same time, your dentist may eventually agree to a payment plan for the rest of the work that you need.
Schools for dentists and dental hygienists often operate student clinics offering very low-cost dental care services. Many community colleges, career and trade schools operate dental hygienist programs. There is a good chance there is a clinic close to where you live.
Schools and research institutions often need of volunteers for clinical studies. Compensation for these studies varies, but usually includes dental care, and may even provide cash payments and travel reimbursement. If you are interested in participating in clinical studies, you can find them listed at ClinicalTrials.gov (see Resources).
Get a Co-signer
Financing companies and dental offices both may work with you if you can get a friend or relative with good credit to co-sign for dental care financing or a payment arrangement.
Some charities provide grants to help people pay their medical and dental bills. Contact charities in your area to learn if they offer assistance of this type. Community action agencies and Salvation Army headquarters can be good places to start. You may also want to contact local churches and other, smaller organizations to see if they have funds available.