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Though you may find organizations that offer free examinations and treatment from time to time when you're looking for free dental emergency care, most do not provide free care at all times, and many do not handle dental emergencies. Some places to look for this type of care include dental schools, community clinics, and health centers. Often, these facilities offer free or low-cost services. You can also turn to an emergency room in your time of need, though the hospital will likely bill you for treatment rather than offering it free of charge.
Dental schools often can be sources for free dental emergency care. Sometimes these schools provide free care for patients and allow students working toward careers in dentistry to perform the dental examinations and procedures. The dental work is typically provided under the supervision of experienced, licensed dentists and professors, however. As such, you can usually expect a reasonable quality of care.
It is important to note that not all dental schools offer the same fees and payment schedules. Some may perform procedures free of charge while others base payment on your income. For example, a dental school may provide free dental emergency care for people who earn below a certain income level while others offer discounted rates based on income level. You might even find some that offer payment arrangements, allowing you to get the help you need right away and pay for your care later.
You may also find free dental emergency care through a clinic or community health center that focuses on helping people with little-to-no income. The availability of this type of care may vary from facility to facility, however. Some may include dental care while others only provide medical examinations and treatment, for example. As with dental schools, you might also find some differences when it comes to payment; some facilities provide free care to those with the lowest incomes while others require each patient to pay on a sliding-scale basis.
Your local emergency room also can provide the care you need in the event of a dental emergency. The problem with this, however, is that such care is usually not free. Many emergency rooms will care for a patient who does not have dental insurance or money with which to pay and then bill him later, though. If you have an emergency and no other place to turn for the help you need, this may prove a good option. Often, you can make payment arrangements for an emergency dental care bill as well.