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

On July 1, 2009 Medi-Cal stopped covering several optional benefits for adults, including dental care.  However, as of May 1, 2014, many adult dental services were restored.  These services include:

  • Dental cleaning
  • Oral x-rays
  • Root canals
  • Some fillings and crowns
  • Dentures.

A complete list of the restored benefits can be found online.  Benefits for Medi-Cal eligible children will remain unchanged.

For services that Denti-Cal does not cover, 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.
  • The California Dental Association has a tool to search for low cost dental care.
  • 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.

Leave a Reply