Finding Dental Care

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Does NIDCR provide dental care?

No, NIDCR does not provide dental care or financial assistance for care. We are a research institution. Learn more about NIDCR.

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Where can I find low-cost dental care?

Dental Schools & Dental Hygiene Schools

Dental schools often have clinics that allow dental students to gain experience treating patients while providing care at a reduced cost. Experienced, licensed dentists closely supervise the students.

Dental hygiene schools may also offer supervised, low-cost care as part of the training experience for dental hygienists.

Community Health Centers

You may also be able to find care at federally funded health centers where you pay what you can afford, based on your income. Health centers are in most cities and many rural areas. To find a health center in your area, visit the Health Resources and Services Administration "Find a Health Center" website.

Medicaid & CHIP

Medicaid is a state-run program that provides medical benefits — and in some cases dental benefits — to eligible individuals and families. States are required to provide dental benefits for children covered by Medicaid, but states can choose whether to provide dental benefits for adults. Most states provide only limited dental services for adults, while some offer extensive services.

CHIP is a state-run program for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but can't afford private insurance. CHIP provides dental services to children up to age 19. Dental services covered under this program vary from state to state.

  • Visit the Medicaid website and click on "Learn How to Apply for Coverage" or contact your state Medicaid program.
  • To find children's dental care programs in your state, visit Insure Kids Now or call 1–877–KIDS–NOW (1–877–543–7669)


Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older and for people under 65 with specific disabilities. Medicare only covers dental services related to certain medical conditions or treatments. It does not cover dentures or most routine care like checkups, cleanings, or fillings.

  • Visit Medicare Dental Services or call 1–800–MEDICARE (1–800–633–4227).  Have your Medicare number handy when you call.

State & Local Resources

Your state or local health department may know of programs in your area that offer free or reduced-cost dental care. To find state and local resources:

  • Call your local or state health department to learn more about their financial assistance programs.
  • Call 2–1–1 to find services in your area.

United Way

The United Way may be able to direct you to free or reduced-cost dental services in your community. To find the United Way in your area, visit:

  • United Way and click on "Find Your United Way" (top right corner of the screen).

Clinical Trials

NIDCR sometimes seeks volunteers with specific dental, oral, and craniofacial conditions to participate in research studies, also known as clinical trials. Researchers may provide study participants with limited free or low-cost dental treatment for the particular condition they are studying. To learn more about clinical trials, visit the NIDCR web site and click on "Clinical Trials." To find a clinical trial, contact:

  • – a database of government and privately funded clinical trials in the U.S. and around the world. 
  • NIH Clinical Research Studies – a database of clinical trials at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. To talk with someone about studies at the Clinical Center, call 1-800-411-1222.
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Does NIDCR provide referrals or second opinions?

NIDCR does not provide referrals or second opinions. For a list of dental practitioners in your area, contact your:

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Last Reviewed
March 2023