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Dental For Disabled Individuals: What Services Are Available?

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

People may find emergency dental care services readily available, but the 61 million Americans with disabilities often struggle to access dental care. While the government offers disability insurance through Medicare, the ACA, and Medicaid, they don’t fully cover adult oral care. Fortunately, some programs cater to special needs.

To help you in your search, we have highlighted all programs covering dental for disabled individuals.

Specialized Dentists For People With Disabilities

Some dentists specialize in treating people with special needs. However, dental clinics may need specialized services for patients with certain disabilities. Several education programs are designed to help dentists provide better dental care to patients with special needs. Many dental clinics may also prioritize patients with disabilities. In these clinics, disabled adults may have access to affordable dental care from volunteer dentists. 

Special-Care Dentistry

In addition to providing dental care for patients with physical disabilities, special care dentistry also offers mental, emotional, and medical support for patients with disabilities. It trains dentists to provide specialized dental care to patients with disabilities.

Eligibility for special-care dentistry for those who can receive comprehensive dental treatment includes the following:

  • Seniors
  • People with disabilities
  • People with mental and medical impairments

Available Dental Services For Disabled Individuals

A dental problem can be painful, cause discomfort, interfere with eating, and be detrimental to self-esteem. Fortunately, several disability programs help finance dental work for patients. Clinics are building initiatives that make it easier for people with disabilities to get care and teach dentists how to help them.

Donated Dental Services (DDS)

Dental Lifeline Network offers this program. The program provides free-of-cost, comprehensive dental care to the country's most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, disabled individuals, and those suffering from medical conditions. DDS also offers comprehensive free dental care to people who are unable to afford standard treatment fees through a network of over 15,000 volunteer dentists.

Check your state's eligibility for free dental care and the program's website for information on how to apply.

Aspen Dental Healthy Mouth Movement

The Healthy Mouth Movement program is offered by Aspen Dental and helps people who need dental care but cannot afford it — due to a disability, funding issues, or both. Veterans with disabilities can also get free dental care from them. With Aspen Dental’s mobile clinic, called MouthMobile, veterans living in remote areas can receive free dental care.

Dentistry Schools

Schools like the UW School of Dentistry prepare dentists to provide specialized dental care to people with disabilities. NYU College of Dentistry also offers this program. A special emphasis is placed on supporting and caring for people with disabilities through the school's oral health center. There is a full-service dental clinic at the school to cater to the needs of families, caregivers, and patients.

Community Dental Programs

Low-cost dental services are available at some community dental clinics. You can find community dental clinics by searching the internet or asking your local hospital.

Free Dental Care

The website lists free and low-cost dental care providers throughout the country. You can choose your state and enter the city nearest you, or scroll down and choose from the list. Choose a provider who will best fit your needs and provide you with the level of assistance you need. You should ensure that the provider can assist you with dental and low-cost needs.

Dental Charities

The listing is comprised of 1-800 dentists offering charitable dental services. DDS provides free comprehensive dental treatment to people with disabilities who are on a fixed income. The Foundation's DDS information page can help you locate the program in your state.

Frequently Asked Questions

For people with disabilities, access to dental care is essential. So, to help you understand the options available to you, we have answered a few questions frequently asked about dental for disabled people:

Does disability insurance cover dental work?

People with disabilities can get disability insurance coverage. A disability insurance policy is intended to protect part of your income if you become disabled. However, dental coverage is usually not included. In some cases, however, dental coverage is provided by insurance, such as Basic Social Security Disability Insurance.

How does disability affect oral health?

Many disabled people suffer from poor oral health because of restricted access to dental care. People with disabilities are more likely to suffer from oral diseases. Among other things, this can negatively affect  nutrition, chewing, speech, digestion, and appearance. 

Is dental care free for disabled individuals?

While government-sponsored programs may offer only basic dental coverage, many other programs are available that offer dental services for disabled individuals.

Get The Dental Service You Need Today!

You can also reach out to local disability services for a referral to find dental for disabled individuals. While access to oral health care is a major barrier to people getting the dental care they need, the high cost of dental care follows close behind. 

Fortunately, there are several programs and charities that provide free dental implants to the disabled, seniors, and low-income individuals, which you can learn more about in our Gov-Relations guide.

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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