Tennessee is a great state for seniors. The favorable climate and beautiful scenery like the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and waterfalls are spectacular destinations for retirees who love site seeing. From the economic aspect, living in Tennessee is affordable due to the lack of income tax, low cost of living, and budget-friendly rent.
All these have made people list it as the best state for seniors. However, challenges may raise concerns for seniors. Older citizens experience challenges with their health, immobility, dental problems, and cognitive disorders, which will need more than a beautiful view to fix. Thankfully, state, local, and federal authorities and organizations have prioritized the needs of seniors and set up resources to assist them.
Are There Grants For Dental In Tennessee?
Tennessee has attracted a high concentration of seniors. Thirty-six percent of the population are seniors above 50, 22.9% are above 60, and 10.8% of retirees above 65 stay alone. In 2021, 11.3% of seniors aged 55-64 were uninsured, with 12% avoiding care due to treatment costs and 3.3% of those above 65 avoiding care for the same reason.
One barrier to dental care access in the state is the shortage of dental providers. There are 50 dentists per 100,000 citizens. Twenty-seven out of 47 health departments that offer dental care at a sliding-fee scale are staffed and open. Poor oral health is an issue in rural areas due to short staffing. Despite rural residents being more likely to be afflicted by oral diseases than urban residents, only four dentists are available for every 100,000 in these areas.
Dental visits were influenced by the level of education, household income, and race. Regarding confidence, 45% of Tennesseans haven’t smiled due to their dental state. Also, 16% of adults have reported that their mouths have affected their ability to get a job.
Dental grants are awarded to fund strategies that will eradicate the barriers to oral care accessibility and return Tennesseans’ confidence in their smiles.
How To Get a Dental Grant In Tennessee
Tennessee Dental Association and American Dental Association award grants that promote the accessibility of dental care services to seniors. Dental grants are not offered to individuals but to programs that align with the organization’s objectives and goals.
Visit your local community health center or dental clinic to learn about programs funded by dental grants to assist low-income seniors with their dental costs. Also, you can research online by reading the resources uploaded by the Department of Health and Human Services to understand where to find dental grants and how they work.
Donated Dental Services accepts people with disabilities, seniors above 65, and individuals needing urgent dental care to receive comprehensive dental treatments for free. You can learn more about this program here.
Dental Grants: These are grants awarded to dental clinics that provide affordable or free dental treatments to ignored populations.
Cosmetic Dental Grants: Most adults (23%) are embarrassed about their oral health condition, and 20% are anxious about their mouths. CDGs are awarded to these individuals to enable them to restore confidence in their smiles.
Dental Implant Grants: Dental implant grants allow seniors to get help covering part of the costs of implants. Confirm with your program’s dentist that they cover dental implants before starting treatment.
Free Dental Implant Clinical Trials: Dental schools are the organizers of clinical trials, and they allow their students under supervision to perform procedures on actual patients. The main reason for the studies is research to advance dentistry to better and safer practices. Participation is voluntary, and seniors can receive discounted or free dental implants as the benefits of participating.
Are There Charities/Local Organizations That Help With Dental Costs?
HealthWell Foundation: The non-profit organization’s mission is to reduce the financial barriers to health care for the underinsured and uninsured. The organization offers financial assistance for insurance coverage, premiums and deductibles, and out-of-pocket medical costs.
Mission of Mercy: The Mission of Mercy is a two-day free clinic where patients receive dental services at no cost, and there are no insurance or income criteria to be met. Services are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
Are There Free Or Low-cost Dental Clinics In Tennessee?
Tennessee boasts of housing over 50 free or low-cost dental clinics committed to serving the underprivileged in society. Here are some of those:
- Interfaith Dental- Nashville
- V M C Dental Clinic- Knoxville
- Healing hands Health Center- Bristol
- Walk In Dental Clinics- Knoxville
- Trinity Health Ministries Inc.- Maryville
- Anderson County Health Department Dental Clinic- Clinton
A web search like “Free dental clinics near me” may bring more information on these and other clinics you can get your dental needs taken care of at pocket-friendly prices.
Will Medicare Pay For Dental Implants?
No, Medicare does not cover dental implants. The Original Medicare (Part A and B) does not provide dental coverage. The most relevant question for seniors is, which Medicare plan is best for dental coverage? Medicare Advantage Plans (MA), also Medicare Part C, is the public insurance option that provides dental, hearing, and vision coverage. This additional coverage is offered by private insurance companies but is regulated by the government. For this reason, you have to pay more for coinsurance.
Most insurance companies do not cover dental implants because they are costly. MA plans pay dental costs, however, they do not cover all dental treatments. In addition, the annual dental benefit amount has a limit. Medicare Part C uses a co-sharing approach to settle expenses from extravagant dental treatments like dental implants.
In Tennessee, the following private insurance companies provide MA plans:
- Clover Health
- Ascension Complete
- AMERIGROUP Community Care
- BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
- Aetna Medicare
- ATRIO Health Plans
Are There Grants/Programs For Helping With Teeth Cleaning, Fillings, Decay And Root Canals Cost?
TennCare: The Medicaid program covers dental services, including X-rays, exams, topical fluoride treatments, carries, fillings, crowns, partial and complete dentures, tooth extractions, and palliative treatment for adults 21 and older.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is cash support offered to low-income seniors to meet clothing, housing, childcare, and feeding need. Eligible applicants must meet citizenship, income, and residency requirements.
Tennessee Operation Homefront is a non-governmental organization that offers financial assistance as one of its four services.
Catholic Charities provides short-term monetary support to seniors struggling with overdue bills until they find their bearing. They also offer transport and food support to needy seniors.
Oral health should be a priority for every senior who wants to live a healthy, happy life. Take advantage of the other resources to help you save more for your dental coverage. Tennessee’s government and other organizations have ensured your concern about cost is out of the way. What is your reason for not smiling?