For many low income denture candidates, free dentures would be a dream. However, it's not so easy to make that dream come true.
Dentures may be perceived as expensive, but a lot of time, skill and expertise goes into the manufacture of each set. Denturists are not merely dentists, they are skilled crafts persons who have taken dentures far beyond the false teeth of days gone by. Advances in denture technology have also brought great innovations to the materials and methods used in manufacturing dentures. But, research and technology require funding. These are some of the basic reason dentures cost as much as they do.
Medicaid and Medicare provide for some basic dental costs, but in most states do not provide coverage for free dentures. Florida and North Carolina Medicaid programs offer limited funding for dentures, but this is typically limited to children under the age of 21, and routinely only covers full or partial standard dentures.
Some dental insurance plans also offer full coverage for dentures, but if you're paying a monthly premium, then they're not exactly free.
How can financially strapped people in need of dentures find the help they need? There are a few possible resources.
One source is the United States government. It's not well known, but needy denture candidates can apply for a grant to pay for their dentures. Government grants are awards distributed in the form of free money that never has to be paid back. They are used to help fund a variety of special causes including health care, and dentures fall under that category. U.S. citizenship is the only qualification required to apply. Applying for free grants does not require collateral, credit checks, security deposits, or co-signers, and the money does not have to be repaid. The drawback is that you need to be able to write a persuasive grant request, and searching for the forms amongst thousands of pages of government info can seem a daunting task.
There are sometimes local charities that work with a number of businesses and professional organizations to secure funding for voucher programs that pay for dentures for those in dire need. While many denturists might be willing to donate some of their time by providing fittings and examinations, it would be very difficult for them to also pay for the materials needed for denture construction. This is where the charity goes to work.
First the charity must establish a relationship with local organizations that look to raise funding for worthy projects. Rotary clubs, Kiwanis, and Women's Auxiliary clubs are examples of organizations that have participated in funding denture programs in the past, though usually on an individual by individual basis. The charity must then find denturists and denture labs who are also willing to participate.
Denture candidates who receive approval for denture funding receive a voucher from the charity and are given the denturist's contact information. The denture candidate then makes an appointment to see the participating denturist and presents the voucher. Impressions and fittings are carried out and the info is sent to the participating lab. The dentures are manufactured and delivered back to the denturist who provides the final adjustments for the new denture wearer.
If you need dentures but truly can't afford to pay for them, your local denture professional may be able to guide you to some funding sources.