Low-cost or Free Dental Care

Archived Responses: 


Free/low cost dental care for disabled person

August 2010

My brother has been on disability for the past couple of years. He's just been told that he needs ''deep tissue cleaning'' of his gums, which will cost $600-$1,000. He can't afford this and MediCal no longer covers dental work (MediCare doesn't cover it either as far as I can tell). I've checked the archives, but a lot of in the information there is several years old. Can anyone recommend a place in the greater Bay Area where my brother can get dental treatment at a minimum cost? Thank you.

If he has Medi-cal AND Medi-care, there is one option. He could join alameda alliance Complete Care program which is like an HMO for people with both those coverages. Must also live in Alameda County. This program provides both dental optometry and even rides to the Dr, all for free. Most dental proceedures are covered. D

Low-Cost Crowns/ Root Canals

Nov 2008

i recently went to a new dentist, Dr Razavi in Emeryville, and she told me i have to get two root canals (or they might just need crowns), in addition to a deep cleaning. all of this is so expensive i don't know if i can afford it, even with Delta Dental. i was about to schedule the first root cancal/crown (i was thinking i'd do one this year and one next year b/c of deductible) and just wanted to first check and see if anyone knew of any dentists that offer lower-cost work or take payment plans...or even dentists they love for this kind of work, because if i'm going to pay these thousands of dollars i want to be sure i'm getting good care, and i didn't get a great feeling about Dr. Razavi. basically, any advice about this is much appreciated. (i checked the archives and called the UCSF dentistry school, and they don't do crowns; and Lifelong doesn't do root canals or crowns.) thanks.

I'm surprised to hear that UCSF dental school doesn't do crowns. They certainly USED TO!! UCSF also has a dental clinic, where graduated students work for 2 years before going off into the big world of dentistry. I had a few crowns done there (it's been a few years). They were great and only charged for material. I don't have the number or address, but I'd check around in the phone book, call UCSF again. Good luck. many crowns and root canals later...

If you do not have pain, get a second opinion! I've had several dentists over the past 15 years tell me I need all those procedures, I naively had the deep cleaning 11 years ago but never any of the other expensive, intrusive procedures, and my teeth are fine. -- very skeptical of dentists

Try Cal Pacific Dentistry school. I didn't have the greatest experience, but lots of people go there. I feel like there are a lot of good students there, but I just happened to get a pretty bad one. Also, for a low cost dentist, I really like Dr. Liviz in the Sunset district. She's Russian, funny, good and not too expensive. She doesn't take as many healthplans as she used to but will be straight with you about what Must be done as opposed to what would ideally be done. Good luck! tabatha

Dental work with no insurance

May 2008

My husband had a root canal and his crown (or whatever they fill it up with) came off leaving a hole in the middle of his tooth. It painful and more and more off the tooth keeps chipping off. The problem is he has no medical or dental insurance (and we can't afford to go to my dentist and pay out of pocket) Does anyone have any ideas of where we may look or what we should do? I know the berkeley free clinic had some sort of lottery, but he works everyday and cant take the day off if he doesnt even know that he will bE seen. any advice would be helpful. thank you. without a dentist

try ucsf school of dentistry: http://dentistry.ucsf.edu/patients/patients_main.html good luck! anon

Try University of the Pacific in San Francisco. They have a clinic offering low cost dental care for teenagers and adults. I went there years ago (my single mom had no dental insurance, either) and they were great. You can get more info at http://dental.pacific.edu/ Click on ''patient services'' Take care! Kim

Dental insurance doesn't necessarily cover much and it's really expensive, so not having it is not necessarily a huge disadvantage. That said, if a local dentist won't set up a payment plan for you (many will), you can go to the USF Dental School on Parnassus St. in SF. The graduating students work on your teeth and you only pay materials. It's the lowest cost, highest quality way to go. You do, however, have to reserve a 3 hour chunk of time as they have a morning session and an afternoon session...you sign up for one or the other. EVERYTHING they do takes 3x as long cause they are slow and careful adn everything has to be checked by a supervising DDS.

I had extensive work done there years ago, and what would have cost me thousands only cost a few hundred.

I also once went to the dental school clinic, which was closer to downtown and I don't remember name/where. THat was GREAT. Also only paid for materials, but these were graduated DDS's who were doing 2 years of clnic before starting work in the real world. You also have to reserve a chunk of time, same as above.

Good luck. owner of $20,000 mouth

There are two dental schools in san francisco: UCSF and University of the Pacific. They will do the work for 30-50% less than what it would cost at the dentist's office. University of the pacific has evening hours I believe. You should read their websites for further info. good luck

Hi, Here are a couple of options that I have had experience with:

Option A: Western Dental in Downtown Berkeley, a block from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. - They also have offices all over from the East Bay to Contra Costa County, etc.

The staff were reasonable, offered low-cost emergency dental care/repair and same day appointments. They also offer low-cost comprehensive dental plans.

Their service was fine, and while the Berkeley office had a range of patients which led to a concern that I would be lost in the shuffle. Yet I wasn't and was pleasantly surprised at the care I received. The dentist and staff were attentive and we weighed the options for repair. They were also very attentive to my concerns about having a TMJ problem and my ability to keep my jaw open for an extended problem. I may not want to have ALL of my dental work done there, as I am most comfortable with holistic dentists who also do accupuncture (GREAT for TMJ issues). Yet overall it solved the problem and I would go back if I needed to.

Option B (I used to work for Alameda County in the Dental Clinic):
For Adults: ACMC (Alameda County Medical Center) offers a Drop-In Dental Clinic and Oral Surgery Clinic at Highland Hospital in Oakland. Services include: -Emergency Dentistry (temporary fillings, repair of crowns and bridges, palliative emergency treatment, pulpotomy) -Emergency Surgery (for injuries and painful infections requiring immediate care) -Diagnostic/ Preventative Care (exam, x-rays, fluoride topical applications, sealants, cleanings and hygiene oral care) -Restorative Care (fillings, removable and fixed prosthetics, root canals and periodontal maintenance) -Special needs dental care (For individuals with developmental disabilities) -Cosmetic Dentistry (teeth whitening) Days: Monday to Friday Time: Drop-In registration, 7:00 am to 1:00 pm. Clinic operates 7:30 am to 5:00 pm Location: Highland Hospital [map]. Register at the counter on the first floor of the Vallecito building. Then proceed to the Dental Clinic on the second floor of E-Wing, a short walk away from the registration area. To Make an Appointment: No appointment needed for initial visit--use the Drop-In registration. If you require follow-up dental care after your drop-in visit, the clinic staff will give you an appointment. To cancel or change a follow-up appointment, call (510) 437-4473. Note: If this is your first visit, you may have to see a financial counselor, even if you have already been through financial counseling in a Medicine clinic. They can tell you how to go about doing this, so allow time for this if you go. Costs for services are based on abilty to pay & insurance/lack thereof. You can recieve emergency dental care without having to pay a deposit also. Their website is: http://www.acmedctr.org/dental_care.cfm?M1=2=0=0=220
Hope this helps! Maya

Affordable cosmetic dentistry

Aug 2005

I like my dentist, but he charges $1000/tooth to do cosmetic dentistry, which is not covered by my insurance. He recommends and I would like to get a veneer for the top lateral incisor (small tooth next to the central incisors) to make it similar in size and lineup to the teeth on either side. This is probably the easiest cosmetic procedure you could have. I can't justify paying that amount of money for it. Any recommendations? Mary Ann

Recommended:  A People-Oriented Dental Practice SF

Student without dental insurance

July 2004

I am a Cal student and need to have dental work done, but I have no dental insurance. Please recommend a caring, excellent, reasonable dentist.

Are you sure you don't have dental insurance? If you have SHIP (the UC Berkeley student health insurance plan, which is automatic unless you opt out), you already have reasonably good dental coverage. See http://www.uhs.berkeley.edu/students/insurance/dentalannouncement.shtml

If you did opt out of SHIP, the above web page suggests an alternate insurance plan, but it doesn't seem like an especially good deal to me. David

If you are a Cal student and have the mandatory health insurance SHIP, you have automatic dental insurance that is quite good. If you have submitted a waiver with proof of other insurance, then you must find your own dental solutions. If you have not done this, then you definitely have dental insurance that is current for whatever semester you have registered for (I actually think that the plan is good for a year, but I'm not positive). Call the Tang Center if you are not sure and have them check for you. I have SHIP and use the dental plan through it. It covers most if not all of the usual dental concerns (cleanings, xrays, wisdom teeth, fillings, etc). Good luck! Freyja

I would highly recommend looking into dental schools. I had some potentially very expensive work done at a dental school (this was in Portland) almost 10 years ago...I'm missing some front teeth that just never came in. The dental school was 1/3 the cost, and I had students doing the work under the supervision of their professors. They did a great job! Even my regular dentist (now that I have insurance) was impressed with the work. ed

April 2004

About a year ago my wisdom teeth started coming in, and have since really started to give me quite a bit of pain. Also, recently my gums started bleeding when I was brushing my teeth, which I do twice a day as well as flossing once. I am a student and I don't have dental insurance. Are there any resources that I can look into for low cost dental care? I am getting really worried.

Lifelong Dental Care can probably help you. Lifelong offers a wide variety of of dental services and the dentists are truly wonderful. They offer services at sliding fee which is based on income. If you have little income as a student you would probably qualify for some discount. Also, Medi-Cal covers many ''kids'' so if you under a certain age, 18?, you may be eligible for pretty decent dental coverage that way. Call their member services number is 704-6000 or 6010 (I am not sure which), these guys can help you figure out if you are eligible for benefits. They also have medical clinics, btw. A Lifelong Employee

UOP and UCSF both have dental clinics that are low cost. You have student dentists working on you, but they are closely supervised by professors. Likely the students are better at UCSF, but pretty good at UOP too. Strangely enough, as I just did a websearch, I found this:

Free Dental Screening Date: Tuesday, April 27th, 2004 from 5:30-7:30pm

Free Dental Screening Site: UCSF Dental clinic, 2nd Floor (707 Parnassus, cross street is 4th Avenue.)

UOP Dental CLinic http://www.dental.uop.edu/

Clinica La Raza also has a dental component. Check here: http://www.laclinica.org/services_dental.html

May 2000

RE: low-cost dentist

Try the UCSF School of Dentistry: 415-476-3276 They apparently do very good work.