What Happens If You Don’t Have Dental Insurance?

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What happens if I don’t have dental insurance? While having a dental insurance policy is good, there are alternative programs and services available if you don’t have coverage. Especially if you urgently need dental treatments, these alternatives can be beneficial to consider.

What Happens If You Don't Have Dental Insurance?

Contrary to common belief, finding affordable dental services isn’t as challenging as it seems. These alternative dental services can provide you with the necessary care without draining your finances or depleting your savings.

So, what are these services? According to a report by the National Association of Dental Plans, over 74 million Americans lack dental insurance coverage. This is understandable because oral care is essential, yet the cost can be prohibitive for many.

How Much Does It Cost To See A Dentist?

The cost of seeing a dentist can vary depending on several factors, including your location, the specific services you require, and whether or not you have dental insurance. On average, a routine dental check-up and cleaning can range from $100 to $300 without insurance.

However, this cost can be higher if additional procedures such as X-rays, fillings, or extractions are needed. For more complex procedures like root canals, crowns, or dental implants, costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per tooth.

The table below shows the average cost of seeing a dentist without an insurance policy.

Dental ServiceAverage Cost Without an Insurance Policy
Filings$50 to $600
Dentures$600 to $8,000
Full examination, X-rays, and cleaning$100 to $300
Braces$3,000 to $10,000
Teeth cleaning$75 to $200
Crowns$500 to $3,000
X-rays$100 to $200
Tooth extractions$75 to $800

Dental Services That Are Excluded By Insurance

If you have a dental insurance policy, here are some of the services that will not be covered by your insurance:

  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • Cosmetic procedures.
  • Orthodontic appliances.

However, some policies might cover orthodontic appliances and services.

What Happens If You Don’t Have A Dental Insurance Policy?

A lot of people ask, “What happens if I don’t have dental insurance?” But the truth is not having dental insurance doesn’t have to be a major concern, as there are alternative options available if you’re unable to afford dental care without coverage.

The only downside is that you won’t have access to an insurance company for dental issues. Consider the following options, which can provide affordable dental care solutions:

  • Dental Schools.
  • Medicare.
  • Community Health Centers.
  • Payment Plans.
  • Dental Discount Plans.
  • United Way.

Dental Schools

If you don’t have dental insurance, there’s no need to skip dental treatment. Many dental hygiene and dental schools train future hygienists and dentists while providing affordable dental care to those without insurance.


Medicare is a federally funded program designed to cover medical expenses for individuals with disabilities and those aged 65 and older.

However, certain Medicare plans may not include coverage for services such as dentures, routine examinations, and cleanings. Nevertheless, some plans may offer additional benefits, such as vision and hearing coverage.

Community Health Centers

Community health centers often offer dental services based on income levels. However, if you require emergency dental care, this option may not be the most suitable.

Nonetheless, the Bureau of Primary Health Care provides federal funding for rural community health centers, totaling approximately 13,500 delivery sites in rural areas and around 1,400 urban communities worldwide.

Payment Plans

Some dentists offer dental payment plans for clients without dental insurance. Many of these plans come with no-fee financing, meaning there are no additional interest charges. This allows you to finance dental procedures without incurring extra costs.

Dental Discount Plans

Discounts are an effective way to save money, and dental discount plans are no exception. By subscribing to a dental discount plan, you can significantly reduce the cost of dental treatments. Furthermore, upon becoming a member, you can qualify for discounts right away.

United Way

How does United Way assist individuals without dental insurance? Local United Way offices can connect you with low-cost or free dental services in your area.

However, it’s important to note that the availability of free or low-cost dental services may vary depending on your location. You can visit their official website to locate a nearby office in your area.

Should I Get A Dental Insurance Policy?    

While alternative options exist for those without dental insurance, having a dental insurance policy remains important.

However, before choosing a dental policy, several factors need consideration, including your age, marital status, current and future dental needs, and any history of dental issues.

Additional factors to weigh include waiting periods, budget constraints, network size and requirements, and the extent of coverage offered. It’s also essential to be aware of add-on coverage options and policy exclusions, as these can impact your decision.

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