New Mexico can offer a lot to the elderly if given a chance. Being a cultural-rich and ancient state, any old soul would enjoy the vintage vibe in New Mexico. In addition, the state is breathtaking, having natural sceneries that leave you with no choice but to site-see. Retirees depending on social security support and retirement benefits can have it easy since goods are affordable, living costs are low, and housing is cheap.
However, the high unemployment rate has increased the crime and poverty rates making the state uncomfortable for seniors struggling financially. The roads are also underdeveloped, making moving around a nightmare for immobile seniors. The desert climate, too-hot days, and too-cold nights make heating and cooling alternatives necessary. These high utility bills add to the piling challenges that older adults face.
It may be difficult for seniors to face these external challenges, but harder when personal problems like deteriorating cognitive health, dental health problems, and compromised immunity are on the list. The local, state, and federal governments and non-profit organizations can lend a helping hand to older adults to help solve these challenges so they can enjoy the positive aspects of New Mexico.
Are Dental Grants Legit In New Mexico?
New Mexico is the 47th poorest state in the US, and 22% of New Mexicans lack dental insurance coverage. Only 18% of citizens receive optimally fluoridated water, yet 77% of the state is fluoridated. There is one dentist for every 3,297 citizens, while the federal standard is 1: 1,050. Three counties lack dentists, while rural areas struggle to recruit oral health providers.
In the pandemic period (2020), 65.2% of seniors above 65 visited a dentist in New Mexico. The percentage of seniors that sought dental care from households with incomes:
- below $25,000 was 48.9%
- $25,000 to below 50,000 was 60.2%
- $50,000 to below 75,000 was 65.3%
- Above $75,000 was 79.2%
Seniors with a college education visited dental clinics more frequently (75%) than those with some post-high school education (64.7%), high school education (60.3%), and less than high school education (44.3%).
Research has shown that dental spending increased from $146 billion in 2020 to $162 billion in 2021, with dental government programs growing faster than out-of-pocket programs after the pandemic. There was a 21% increase in dental funding from the federal government for programs like Medicare and the US Department of Veteran Affairs from 2020 to 2021. The increased funds for dental programs through government dental grants so the growth of dental spending not only in New Mexico but also throughout the US.
How To Get Financial Help For Dental In New Mexico
Dental Lifeline Network runs a program, the Donated Dental Services, that provides comprehensive dental treatment to seniors above 65, people with disabilities, individuals or families that lack the means of affording dental treatment, and individuals that require medically necessary dental care. Applicants that don’t need cosmetic or emergency care and meet DDS’ eligibility criteria can apply online.
The New Mexico Dental Association and American Dental Association funds programs that align with their goals of educating on oral health and increasing access to dental care for the undeserving. There are charity organizations that believe everyone deserves access to dental healthcare and that oral healthcare is healthcare too. Their compassion for humanity drives them to fund projects that offer free or reduced-cost services to ignored communities and areas.
These grants are awarded to:
- Recruit dental providers in marginalized areas
- Train dentists to provide dental care even in difficult conditions
- Buy the equipment necessary for the dental practice
- Drive research that will advance dental practices
- Fund programs that provide sliding-scale services to New Mexicans.
Cosmetic Dental Grants
Some organizations and private dentists strive to restore the dignity of older adults struggling with teeth loss and other dental-related issues by funding their cosmetic dental procedures. Services covered through these CDGs include veneers, dentures, crowns, dental implants, Invisalign, etc.
Dental Implants Grants
Considering the prices of dental implants, many senior citizens opt for dental implant grants that help them get up to 25% off their dental costs. Not all dental grants cover dental implants, so ensure you get a confirmation from your local dentist before you start the treatment process.
The University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine, Division of Dental Hygiene, is the only school that offers high-level education and patient care in Albuquerque through its residency program. Services are provided by dental school graduates, resident dentists, and senior faculty dentists. In addition, they also carry out research programs that help them develop safer and more efficient innovations to replace outdated treatments.
Are There Charities/ Local Organizations That Help With Dental Costs?
New Mexico Dental Association Foundation
The New Mexico Dental Association Foundation has had 9,500 volunteer dental providers, served 10,000 clients, and provided $10 million in free treatments for over 15 years. NMDAF offers fillings, cleanings, dentures, and restorative care.
Mission of Mercy
Through a network of volunteer dentists, Mission of Mercy is run for two days to provide free dental treatments to New Mexicans who cannot afford/ access dental care.
Are There Free Or Low-cost Dental Clinics In New Mexico?
Here are several free and sliding scale dental clinics:
- UNM Department of Dental Medicine Residency Clinic- Albuquerque
- Pecos Valley Medical Center- Pecos
- HIS Dental Clinic- Albuquerque
- Familia Dental- Las Cruces
- First Choice Community Healthcare- South Valley
Will Medicare Pay For Dental Implants?
No, Medicare will not pay for dental implants, even any other dental costs. However, you can get Medicare Advantage (Part C), which covers basic and major dental care treatments. The MA plan charges an extra premium (in addition to Plan A and B) for coinsurance with private insurance providers that offer extensive dental coverage. For treatments like dental implants, MA plans have a cost-sharing approach, with some paying more while others cover 50% of the cost. Moreover, the MA plans come with a $1,000 dental benefit amount and limited dental service coverage.
Are There Grants Or Programs For Helping With Fillings, Decay, Cleanings And Root Canals Costs?
Centennial Care Program
New Mexico is one of 18 states in the US where Medicaid provides extensive coverage to seniors above 65. The program covers cleanings, fillings, fluoridation, x-rays, sealants, and crowns.
Supplemental Security Income is financial aid given to seniors above 65 with an income and assets worth below $2,000 to help pay for basic needs.
Being a senior can be difficult considering the current cost of living in New Mexico. However, the resources available can put a smile back on an older New Mexican.