Rhode Island may be a perfect fit for a senior with a palate for delicious seafood and one who enjoys spending time at the beach. Twenty-three percent of the state’s population is seniors above 60, with 13% of older citizens above 65 living alone. This high concentration of older citizens has made it necessary to put in place resources that ease the lives of seniors. Oral health deterioration is one of the challenges seniors face, especially those above 65. Research has shown a rapid increase in the state’s aging population. These two facts have made it mandatory for local agencies and non-profit organizations to develop strategies that will prioritize the oral health of the elderly, to reduce the strain of dental problems on the healthcare system.
Are There Grants for Dental in Rhode Island?
The average number of dentists per 100,000 Rhode Islanders was 51.6 in 2022, slightly below the nation’s average of 60.6. There was a reduction in the percentage of seniors above 65 that avoided care due to cost from 3.1% in 2021 to 2.3% in 2022. It is attributed to 22% of the elderly having enrolled in Medicaid.
The cost of dental care is high. Twenty-four percent of the population is low-income and cannot afford these dental services. A high percentage of adults covered by Medicaid visited the dentist compared to the uninsured and those with private covers. Twenty-six percent of uninsured adults delayed or went without care due to cost. Race, level of education, and household income influenced the frequency of visiting dentists.
Dental grants are awarded to fund public projects like Medicaid and Medicare that increase access to dental care services.
How to Get a Dental Grant in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Dental Association is a tax-exempted organization that:
- Financially supports dental projects
- Funds studies and research that advances dentistry in Rhode Island
- Carries out mass education on dental hygiene practices that are important in promoting oral health.
- Supports dental clinics and community health centers that provide direct dental care to the undeserving.
The program can carry out its activities through donations from well-wishers and other charitable organizations.
Dental Lifeline Networks has a program that offers comprehensive treatment at reduced costs. Donated Dental Services help individuals in urgent need of dental care, seniors, and patients with disabilities.
Dental Grants: Dental grants are awarded by non-profit organizations and local agencies whose goal is to improve the lifelong oral health of the underprivileged.
Cosmetic Dental Grants: This is the process for a cosmetic dental grant application:
- You send your application to your program of interest
- The staff coordinator confirms your request
- A local dentist will perform a free oral assessment on you
- The program dentist will determine whether you qualify for a free or discounted cosmetic procedure
- You will receive a treatment that best suits you.
Not all dental grants cover cosmetic dentistry, so confirm the same when doing your research.
Dental Implant Grants: Recently older citizens are opting for dental implants for teeth replacement. Dental implant grants allow them to pick this option because they help cover the expensive treatment costs.
Free Dental Implant Clinical Trials: Dental implant clinical trials are organized by dental schools and funded by non-profit organizations. The main aim of these studies is research. It provides an opportunity to continuously test the efficacy and safety of new drugs, methods, and equipment. Also, students get to practice their knowledge of actual patients. Procedures are performed under the supervision of licensed faculty staff. Participants of these clinical trials receive dental implants for free or at low costs.
Are There Charities/Local Organizations that Help with Dental Costs?
National Council On Aging: The NCOA offers financial assistance to seniors and offers them information that can help them apply for different benefits without being scammed.
Rhode Island Mission of Mercy: Seniors who lack public or private dental coverage can attend the two-day clinic to receive dental services free of charge. Patients are seen on a first-come-first-served basis, and attendance does not guarantee treatment due to the large number of patients who attend the event. Dental services include cleanings, fillings, root canals, oral health education, and extractions. The MoM does not offer dentures, caps, crowns, or whitening.
Are There Free or Low-Cost Dental Clinics in Rhode Island?
Free or low-cost dental clinics are run by volunteer dentists and funded by non-profit organizations and charities. Community health centers ‘ funds are from the local government, and they ensure the undeserving in society have access to high-quality dental care services.
- Rhode Island Free Clinic- Providence
- Dental RI- Cranston
- Affordable Dentures and Implants- Greenville
- Eastbay Community Action Program-Newport
- Friends and Family Dental- East Providence
- Thundermist Health Center of Woonsocket
By making a web search like “Free dental clinics near me”, you may have a list of dental clinics in Rhode Island and links to their websites to help you find the perfect fit that suits your pocket.
Will Medicare Pay for Dental Implants?
No, Medicare will not pay for dental implants. The Original Medicare plans (Part A and B) lack dental coverage. Seniors can opt for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) for dental coverage. These plans come with dental, hearing, and vision coverage provided by private insurance companies.
The MA dental plans in Rhode Island have capped the total dental benefit amount. There is an annual maximum dental benefit amount. Also, Part C plans follow a cost-sharing approach for dental implants. The longer you have had your premium, the more the plan will cover your dental costs extensively. Note that Medicare Advantage plans do not cover all dental treatments, so speak to your provider before starting treatment.
Are There Grants/Programs for Helping with Teeth Cleaning, Fillings, Decay and Root Canals Cost?
Medicaid For Older Adults: Medicaid has two options for seniors who need help covering their dental costs:
- Medicaid Dental Services
- Nursing Home Mobile Dental Program: CareLink Mobile Dental Services offer mobile dental services to seniors who have stayed at least 45 days in a nursing home.
Both options cover dental costs for fillings, cleanings, root canals, and exams for older citizens above 55.
Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly: Seniors who qualify for Medicaid Long-Term Care can apply for PACE. The program covers preventive and restorative dental care services for low-income seniors.
Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Elderly is cash support offered by the Department of Healthy Aging to seniors above 65 to buy the prescription medication they cannot afford.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): the elderly in Rhode Island living significantly below the Federal Poverty Level receive TANF to help them afford clothing, rent, food, and other essential needs.
Charitable groups like the Rhode Island Catholic Charities offer monetary aid to seniors in emergencies and grants to the program that eases the life of older citizens struggling to meet their basic needs as part of their humanitarian service.
Rhode Island Works connects the elderly caring for younger or high school kids with services, like child care and transportation, to promote financial stability.
Being a senior can be challenging, but matters are worse when oral health deteriorates and confidence is lost. Oral healthcare is necessary for the well-being of seniors. Dental grants should be awarded to fund projects that ensure seniors have no worries about the cost of dental care.