I heard that Medi-Cal does not cover dental services anymore. Where can I get dental care?

As of July 1, 2009 Medi-Cal has stopped covering several optional benefits for adults. Dental care is one of the benefits that Medi-Cal is no longer paying for most adults. For more information you can read Medi-Cal’s notice.

Important things to know about the Medi-Cal dental (Denti-Cal) cuts:

• These cuts do not affect children. Children can still receive dental care through Medi-Cal. There are no changes to the dental care Medi-Cal covers for anyone under 21.
• Medi-Cal beneficiaries who live in Nursing Homes can still get dental care.
• Pregnant women will still be able to access many dental services.
• Medi-Cal will still cover some limited dental services for adults, medically necessary teeth extractions will still be covered, as will some other limited services that could be provided by a doctor.
• For more information about what Medi-Cal will continue to cover read Medi-Cal’s FAQ’s About Adult Dental Benefits.

It is very hard to find free dental care anywhere, below are some suggestions of types of places to search for low cost dental care:

• Community clinics. Some community clinics offer dental care and some charge on a sliding fee scale basis, meaning they charge you less if you have a lower income.
• Dentistry schools and dental hygiene schools. Many dental schools offer free or low cost cleanings and dental exams performed by the students.
• Your local dental district society may be able to help you find a local dentist that charges on a sliding fee scale basis. Beware of any dental credit card that your dentist offers you. Dental credit cards often have very high interest rates after a short interest free period. The interest free period often ends early if there is a late or missed payment.
• Individual dental insurance. Dental insurance is often low cost. It can cost less than $10 a month and be cheaper than paying for dental care out of pocket. Beware of discount plans! Discount plans only offer a small discount on your dental costs, not actual coverage of your dental care like an insurance plan. Always be sure to read the fine print when purchasing an insurance plan.

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