Qualifying for free orthodontic Free Dental Braces Grants & Financial help – Braces are used by a lot of people for varied reasons to get perfect teeth. Orthodontic braces can cost thousands of dollars and not everyone can afford to pay for these braces to ensure good dental health. Fortunately, there are benevolent agencies and government assistance programs that benefit low-income citizens throughout the United States of America and help them to get free braces.
From nonprofit organizations to government-funded programs and low-cost dental clinics there are various options to explore to ensure good dental health. This guide will throw light on different free braces programs for children and adults.
Highlights of this Post
What Are Dental Braces?
Dental braces are devices that are put on the teeth to improve oral hygiene. They can be used in combination with other dental care, such as teeth whitening, teeth restoration, and more. There are many different types of braces available, so it’s important to find the right one for you.
There are two main types of braces: standard and removable. Standard braces use traditional metal brackets to hold your teeth in place while you wear them. Removable braces use plastic or metal brackets to remove your teeth at will.
The benefits of dental braces range from better oral hygiene to reduced tooth pain and inflammation. Some people even find they have less resistance to plaque and bacteria when they wear dental braces, which can lead to a cleaner smile overall!
What Are The Eligibility Criteria And Application Procedure To Get Free Braces?
Finding an organization, program or orthodontist who can help you with 100% free brace services is an attractive option for low-income families who are unable to purchase expensive braces due to their financial limitations.
Free braces are provided to the less fortunate, needy and poor citizens of America and the eligibility criteria may vary from one state to another.
Following are the general criteria that you need to fulfill to get free braces.
- Be a citizen of the United States or a legal/ permanent resident
- Must demonstrate financial resources and incapacity to pay for the orthodontic procedures or braces
- Must have a medical condition that needs assistance and can be solved with the help of braces
- Must meet the age limitation of the program. Children applying for free braces must be between 1 to 18 years old.
- Should have income within the program guidelines. Applicants must demonstrate a financial crunch while applying for free brace services.
- Must prove you have not used braces before.
A few organizations mandate applicants to have good oral hygiene and must not have any unfilled cavities to get free braces. Some organizations require candidates to showcase a few hours of volunteer work to get assistance.
The application procedure to get help from the free braces program is quite easy. You just need to visit the official website of the organization you are considering and fill out an online application form. Along with the application form you need to submit relevant documents that state the following.
- Proof of medical condition provided by a licensed orthodontist
- Proof of your nationality especially valid citizenship and residency documents
- Proof of your household income such as pay stubs, bank statements, tax forms, W2 forms etc.
- Must have letters of recommendation.
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How Much Do Braces Cost?
The cost of braces may range between $5350 to $5700 including the cost of consultation. The amount includes traditional braces and ceramic braces. If you’re opting for lingual braces then the cost may go high up to $12,000 and are not covered by financial assistance programs.
The cost of braces depends on the following factors
- Your age
- Your orthodontist experience
- The place where you’re getting your braces done
- Insurance benefits
- The purpose of getting braces.
What Are The Available Government Programs That Provide Financial Assistance For Braces?
According to reports from Humana nearly 4 million people in the United States of America wear braces and around 45% of these individuals are adults. Braces help in improving appearance and health but can be a costly affair.
Unfortunately, not everyone in America can afford braces. This is the reason why a lot of programs are provided by the government to help people get free or discounted braces.
A federal health insurance program that offers medical and dental coverage to individuals below 65 years of age or above including those with specific disabilities is Medicare.
It is important to keep in mind that Medicare dental coverage is limited and may not cover dentures or standard dental care. Few Medicare Advantage plans provide additional benefits that are not covered by the original Medicare program for instance hearing, vision or dental services.
A lot of states have Medicaid for orthodontic services where you can get free braces if you belong to a low-income family. Following are the orthodontic conditions that are covered by the Medicaid program.
- Sleep apnea
- Disfiguration of teeth because of accidental trauma to the teeth, jaw or mouth
- Severe malocclusion that leads to emotional and physical harm
- Problem with normal eating or chewing
With Medicaid, a lot of people cover their dental treatment or may be eligible to get treatment free of cost. But for this one has to meet their eligibility requirements that are varied on the state level.
An individual can get paid for braces through the Children’s Health Insurance Program on meeting the eligibility criteria. The program offers mandatory dental benefits as well as dental correction services to children.
The eligibility criteria to get free braces from this program are as follows
- Children up to 18 years of age can receive CHIP benefits. In some states, the benefits are extended to children under 21 years old.
- Children must belong to low-income families
- Applicants must showcase a modest orthodontic condition
- The dental condition must be considered medically necessary for dental schools or dentists.
A few commonly covered orthodontic procedures that are covered under the Children’s Health Insurance Plan are as follows
- Excessive overjet
- Cleft palate
- Severe overbites, underbites or crossbites
- Congenital hypodontia
- Incurring pain or issues while chewing or eating
- Having jaw issues or structural jawline that causes difficulty or pain while opening and closing the mouth
- Impacted teeth.
Insurekidsnow.gov helps low-income families to find affordable health insurance programs for their children and teenagers. You can use the Medicare or CHIP dentist locator to find a dentist that accepts Medicaid and CHIP programs and helps you with dental services like braces.
Children belonging to low-income families that earn $60,000 or less can qualify for dental coverage from this resource. Families can apply online by mail, in person or by phone. You can find more details on dental providers and health insurance programs within your state by visiting the official website.
Veterans can easily qualify for VA dental care benefits if they belong to low-income families and meet service-connected eligibility criteria. Veterans who qualify for VA dental care benefits can receive few or entire dental care coverage through VA.
Whether you can get free braces through VA dental care or not depends on a wide area of factors such as your current health condition, living situation and military service history.
Participants must apply to their local U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and also meet the qualification criteria.
Patients are required to prove they are suffering from health-associated complications to get the braces covered under the program. The program offers grants for dental and medical care to children who would otherwise have not qualified for affordable healthcare programs.
A health insurance program called TRICARE is funded by the United States federal government. The program assists active duty soldiers to cover the cost of the braces.
The dental program is geared towards veterans, military families and their spouses and children up to 21 years of age. The program covers approximately 50% of your braces. Even though the dental plan will not cover your entire cost, it can help you to offset some costs and reduce your financial burden.
The Affordable Care Act helps students to pay for their braces. You can purchase medical and dental insurance with the Affordable Care Act marketplace which will provide you maximum coverage of $1000 to $1500 annually.
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Organizations That Help Pay For Braces
Individuals who are unable to qualify for government-funded programs to get free braces can opt for the traditional method of applying for assistance from different benevolent organizations and charitable institutions that work tirelessly to help needy people. You can apply to the following organizations and re benefits of their programs.
Seton Hill University Orthodontic Clinic
There is another way by which you can get affordable braces. You can seek help from the Seton Hill University Orthodontic Clinic that provides orthodontic services.
The university provides funds to help those individuals who can’t afford the orthodontic treatment cost. They help with free braces and other benefits like follow-up appointments, routine adjustment, and the placement of retainers.
Smiles Change Lives
Smiles Change Lives offers orthodontic services to needy people. They offer help to those people who are between 7 to 21 years old. The Smiles Change Lives make sure that people who need help with orthodontic care get help with financial assistance and can pay for their treatment.
You can get free braces from this organization by fulfilling the following eligibility criteria.
- Applicants should have healthy oral hygiene
- They must not have unfilled cavities
- People who are already wearing braces aren’t eligible to receive free braces from the organization
- Applicants must demonstrate a dire or moderate need to get free braces from the organization
- Applicants must meet the financial guidelines and income criteria set by the organization. The financial guidelines of the organization can vary from one state to the other. You must check the eligibility criteria, the application guidelines and the income criteria of the organization.
You must pay at least $30 as a non-refundable application fee and some other payment as well. In short, one has to be ready to pay $500 to $700 for the treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists administers a series of dental programs that can help you get free braces. The volunteers and members of the organization work for the less fortunate people to help them maintain their dental health.
The organization through the donated orthodontic services has helped 914 patients throughout America. The organization has donated nearly $5 million to date to needy people in various forms.
You need to fulfill the following criteria to get donated orthodontic services.
- Applicants must be in age between 7 to 18 years
- Applicants must have a good oral hygiene and should not have any unfilled cavities
- Applicants must fulfill the income criteria and demonstrate a strong financial need while applying for the services.
The United Way is a nonprofit organization that is present in hundreds of locations throughout the United States of America including other parts of the world.
A lot of these locations provide free dental clinics where you can get free or discounted braces. You need to contact the local United Way office and see the available programs in your area.
Citizens who have not been qualified for federally funded programs like CHIP or Medicaid can qualify for DentalSave Dental Plans.
These plans will be considered when you need dental plans for orthodontic procedures or free braces. The plans are curated for low-income citizens who are looking for orthodontic procedures at affordable rates free of cost.
You can save a significant amount of money through this plan. Usually, a person can get a 25% discount on braces by becoming a member of the DentalSave Dental Plan. For instance, if a dentist charges around $7000 to $8000 for your braces then you just need to pay $5250 by using dental-safe dental plans.
Churches And Community Health Centres
Community health centers and local churches are organizations that can help you to get free braces if you are struggling financially. Even if they cannot help you directly they can connect you to an organization or orthodontist from where you can get braces or other procedures for free.
You need to contact your local church or community health center and tell them about your medical and financial problems. In some cases in return for their help, you may have to sign up for compulsory community help service.
A nonprofit organization known as Purple Heart Smiles collaborates with dental schools to help people with free braces. To get free braces from this nonprofit organization you need to fulfill the following eligibility criteria.
- Children should be 16 years of age or below
- Candidates should be children of Purple Heart recipients or members. The organization works with orthodontists to offer free dental treatment to Purple Heart recipients.
Other Affordable Ways To Get Free Braces
Borrow From Friends And Family
If you’re not eligible to qualify for assistance from government and nonprofit organizations then you can raise funds for your braces from your friends and family. The money can come in the form of gifts or loans.
Visit A Local Dental School
Dental schools and dental hygiene schools are located throughout the United States of America and have orthodontists who can help you to get free or discounted braces. Getting your braces done by budding orthodontists will give you peace of mind since an experienced trainer supervises the trainees.
Public Dental Clinics
You can access the website of the Health Resources and Service Administration which offers access to a network of public dental clinics for individuals in need. You need to fulfill the medical condition and income criteria to get help with braces. It is important to keep in mind that not all public dental clinics cover dental services like braces.
Another popular resource to find low-cost clinics in your local area is the Needy Meds Dental Clinic database which provides information about more than 4000 clinics. Many are funded by federal or state governments so you can easily qualify for discounted braces.
Ask For Special Offers or Seasonal Discounts
You can ask for special offers or seasonal discounts at dental clinics. You can simply call the clinic and ask about discount offers or special deals that can help you reduce the cost of braces to a certain extent.
Local clinics often have family packages, summer discounts or back-to-school discounts that can help you receive a 10% to 50% discount on your braces.
You can use online crowdfunding options such as GoFundMe to raise money for your dental treatment or even braces. GoFundMe is an American crowdfunding platform that helps people to raise money for several purposes. You just need to share your story via email, text or social media and explain how getting braces will improve your condition and life.
Seek Assistance From A Specialized Orthodontic Facility
You can lower your cost on braces by seeking assistance from freestanding orthodontic cleaning that provides shorter treatment times. You can ask professionals for materials that suit your budget. Traditional braces are often expensive compared so cheaper options will help you to get dental treatment within your budget.
Retainers and Headgear
Braces are quite expensive for a lot of people who are unable to afford the dental treatment cost. Fortunately, you can try retainers and headgear to protect your gums and teeth.
Retainers help to straighten slightly crooked teeth and cost $150 to $500 depending on the type of retainer you need. Headgear helps to repair a crooked bite and puts your jaws in a good position and the average cost is $1000 depending on the type. You must go for these two low-cost options under the guidance of your dentist.
Get Tax Deduction
Orthodontic expenses are tax-deductible. You can get advantage of the tax deduction to cover the cost of the braces. You have to look for the options and choose from the one that is affordable for you and can fulfill all your needs to pay for braces and maximize your savings. You can use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) to cover the cost of your braces.
Braces help to improve your dental health and give you your deserving confidence. However, the cost of braces can be a barrier. Fortunately, there are many ways to get free braces. Getting braces for free has helped low-income people, save thousands of dollars and ensure good dental health. A lot of organizations, charities and government-funded programs help people to get braces for free and maintain dental hygiene in the United States of America. To avail more information about the eligibility criteria and the application procedure you can contact the nonprofit charity organization and agencies directly.
Frequently Asked Question
How Can One Qualify For Free Braces?
If one wants to qualify for free braces then he or she must meet the requirements of the program. Applicants have to meet the requirements and fulfill the income criteria according to their state level.
Who Can Be Eligible For Free Braces?
Low-income individuals such as children, students, adults, pregnant women, low-income families, and others who can meet the eligibility requirements can get free braces.
Is There Any Age Limit For Having Braces?
There is no age limit for having braces. However it is considered that the age of 7 to 14 years is the best stage to have braces. As this is the growing age stage and during this time adult teeth start to appear.
How Can I Get Free Braces If I Don’t Qualify For Government Grants For Braces?
Everyone doesn’t need to qualify for government grants for free braces. If you are a needy person who needs braces urgently then you can get help from other sources as well. Such as from universities, local dental clinics, non-profit organizations, and local churches.