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How To Apply For Pro Bono Dental Care

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Restorative dentistry can be expensive, especially if you do not have access to dental assistance grants and programs that can help with the cost. As a result, many people cannot receive the help they need. 

The risk of heart disease and stroke have been linked to poor oral hygiene, so preventing dental problems is crucial. However, some people simply cannot afford that. Fortunately, several pro bono dental treatment programs are available to low-income patients.

Pro Bono Dental Care: Overview

Pro Bono Dental Care Overview

Most people lose Medicaid and CHIP coverage after turning 21, and while Medicaid may offer some basic coverage for adults, it varies by state and is very limited. Private charities or non-profit organizations like the American Dental Association partner with dental clinics and sponsor charitable programs and events. Medical volunteers and dentists participate in programs and events that provide free preventive and restorative dental care to children and low-income people, as well as oral health education. This represents an opportunity for adults and children to receive some oral care.

The majority of oral care in America is provided by small private dental practices. So patients in need of dental care will have to search for dentists willing to help. 

Eligibility Requirements

Several nonprofit organizations and city or state governments offer charitable dental care to unemployed, underemployed, and low-income residents.

How To Apply

If you are interested in receiving dental care, you must contact the clinic, fill out an application, and meet the established requirements.

Dental Charities Offering Pro Bono Oral Care 

Several charities offer free dental care to people without insurance. Availability may vary by location, income level, and eligibility criteria. People with low incomes can receive free dental care with the following services.

United Way

In the U.S., United Way offers free dental care at hundreds of locations. It also provides mobile dental clinics for easier access. You can find out what services are available in your community through the United Way. Their staff can help you find free or low-cost dental services if they exist. By visiting or calling 2-1-1, you can find your local United Way chapter.


Dentaid supports children and adults worldwide. Its primary mission is to relieve dental pain. To help dentists reach more patients, they provide them with equipment, run oral health programs, and send volunteer teams. Dentaid provides people in need of dental care with DentaidBoxes, which includes all the equipment needed by a dentist.

American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Charitable Foundation

ACDCF provides compassionate cosmetic dental services and support programs for adults who suffer from dental trauma as a result of domestic violence or sexual abuse. 

As part of its "Give Back a Smile" program, the organization aims to restore the smiles of adult survivors of domestic violence who have suffered dental damage as a result.

America’s Dentists Care Foundation, Missions of Mercy (ADCFMOM)

ADCF delivers oral healthcare to the underserved population through its 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Nevertheless, ADCF does not offer charity services to individuals.

Instead, it supports other organizations establishing and operating free clinics, like Mission of Mercy (MOM). They provide:

  • Pre-clinic guidance
  • Volunteers
  • Dental clinic equipment

An ADCF list of supported local organizations is available on the website. Find a clinic near you using this resource.

Dental Lifeline Network

DLN is a nonprofit that provides oral health care and education to those who cannot afford it. Its flagship program, Donated Dental Services (DDS), connects over 15,000 dentists and 3,400 laboratories that volunteer their time to offer free or discounted dental services. Individuals from three categories are offered affordable treatment by the charity:

  • Those who suffer from a permanent disability
  • Elderly people: aged 65 and older
  • Medically fragile people

Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about dental assistance programs, you need to find the right resources. You can learn more about pro bono dental care solutions by reviewing these commonly asked questions.

Can you start GoFundMe for dental work?

Many people turn to crowdfunding for financial relief when they face unexpected dental expenses. Your story may motivate even strangers to contribute to your cause.

What does Medicaid cover for dental for adults?

Medicaid covers preventative services such as dental check-ups, cleanings, and x-rays. It covers emergency services as well as restorative procedures, including crowns, root canals, and oral surgery.

Who qualifies for free or low cost dental care?

State-specific guidelines determine if someone qualifies for free or low-cost dental care in the U.S. You may qualify for free treatment through Donated Dental Services (DDS) if you cannot afford dental treatment and are over 65, disabled, or suffer from a medical condition.

How to get free dental work in California?

The Medi-Cal Dental Program provides children and adults with free or low-cost dental care. Children and adults enrolled in MediCal, the state's Medicaid program can receive benefits.

How to get a dentist to do pro-bono work?

Free dental work isn't something you just "get." When you go to your regular dentist, you tell him about your problems, ask for his advice, and explain your dental issues and financial situation. They could choose to do pro-bono work on your teeth. Or you could check your local charities and dental clinics to find one that will work pro-bono.

Access Pro Bono Dental Care Today!

If you aren't sure where to go for dental assistance, don't despair. Many resources, organizations, grants, clinics, and especially pro bono dental charities can assist you in restoring your smile.

Seeking legal assistance without the hefty fees? After exploring pro bono dental care, dive into our guide on finding pro bono lawyers near you for comprehensive support.

Don't let dental conditions go untreated. You have several options if you want to save on dental care. Several states offer free or low-cost dental care for children and adults with limited incomes.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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