What to Do if You Don't Have Dental Insurance and Need Dental Work

Some people don't have dental insurance because they can't get it through an employer and private insurance is too expensive. Regardless, you have a few options to get needed dental care even without coverage.

Go to a Dental School

Dental hygiene and dentistry programs are among the more affordable options to obtain basic dental care without insurance coverage. Dental hygiene schools commonly provide routine cleanings and check-ups for $20 to $30. Students benefit from patients to practice on and patients accept a lower rate for someone in the process of learning. To allow general and specialty dentists opportunities to gain experience, dentistry programs offer more intensive care in certain cases. Contact local colleges to inquire whether they have dental programs and clinics.

Participate in a Dental Payment Program

Though not universal, Forbes points out that some dentists offer patients opportunities to participate in annual payment programs that essentially replace insurance. You might pay monthly service installments, for instance, and you receive basic care and certain types of treatment procedures as needed.

In lieu of a payment plan, you could set up financing with the dentist. Some dentists offer various types of programs, such as 0 percent interest, if you pay off high-cost services within a stated period of time. Even people with insurance utilize these financing options for braces or uncovered services.

Negotiate Discount Rates

A simple, but potentially humbling approach is to talk directly with the dentist's office and negotiate reasonable rates for service. Dentists hungry for patients may at least allow you to pay the contracted rates that insurance companies pay. This type of negotiation is common in other industries, such as car repairs, where service shops often accept lower rates from non-insured customers. Fox Business points out that even if you have to pay full price for routine dental exams, missing these preventative check-ups is typically worse than not having insurance.


Nonprofit organizations in some communities organize programs or events where people without insurance can obtain basic no -cost or low-cost dental care.