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Where can I get discounted dental treatment? And is it worth it?

Do you know where I can get discounted dental care? I don’t have dental insurance and I’m wondering if there are any dental schools that need patients to practice on. I’ve heard I can get affordable dental treatment if I visit a dental school, but I don’t know how to apply. I’m also a little worried about the quality of the care I’ll get. What if something goes wrong?

—Sam from Washington

Hello Sam,

You’re not alone. Many people who feel that they can’t afford professional dental treatment seek out discounted care at dental schools. Rest assured, you can indeed get high-quality treatment at an accredited dental program. The only caveat is that your treatment will take much more time than if it were provided in a private dental practice. This is because the students need to take their time while they learn and work, and then more time is needed for their instructors to check the work. But the fact that all treatment is supervised by experienced instructors means that you won’t have to worry that something will go wrong.

On that account, getting discounted dental care at a local dental school is preferable to seeking cheap treatment from a “discount” dentist.

If you don’t mind spending up to an hour and a half in a dental chair to get a single filling done, then it might be worth the reduced cost for you to get your treatment at a dental school.

All you have to do to get started is Google accredited dental programs in cities near you, contact the ones listed, and ask how you can join their patient base.

You can visit a dental program for treatment like orthodontics, as that is an accredited branch of specialty dental care. But if you’re interested in making cosmetic enhancements to your smile, then you’re better off saving up to visit a cosmetic dentist for the real deal, since dental school programs place more emphasis on function than esthetics.

This post has been published on behalf of Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso dentist with advanced training in orthodontic treatment alternatives.