Utah is among the youngest states in the USA, with only 15.8% of its population being elderly above 60. The percentage of seniors above 65 living alone is 7.2%. Despite the population of seniors being low, Utah is a senior-friendly state. The low cost of living, magnificent landscapes, affordable housing, and peaceful nature of the state could attract any senior to move here.
The UnitedHealth Foundation ranked Utah the second-best state in healthcare. The crime rates are low, and the small-town lifestyle is one any senior would enjoy. Despite all this, some problems they face, their financial situations do not allow them to handle on their own. One of the challenges is oral health problems, and considering the high cost of dental care services, older adults need external aid. What resources are available in Utah to help eradicate barriers to access to dental care?
Are There Grants For Dental In Utah?
Yes, there are dental grants in Utah. Dental care services are expensive, and low-income families may struggle to afford their dental bills. In 2021, 2.7% of seniors above 65 avoided dental care due to cost, and 7.4% of adults 55-64 were uninsured. Also, the average number of dental care providers per 100,000 population is 56.7, slightly below the national average. In 2021, 66% of Utah counties were reported as dental Health Professional Shortage Areas.
Individuals with higher education levels and from high-income households sought dental care services more often than their counterparts. Seniors above 75 are at a greater risk of being affected by dental conditions than other population groups. These facts showed the need for projects that will increase the accessibility of dental care services to the undeserving and promote workforce development. Dental grants are the financial support to develop, run and maintain these interventions to promote the oral health of Utahans.
How To Find Financial Help For Dental Care In Utah
Dental Grants are awarded by not-for-profit organizations, charities, individual companies, local agencies, and state authorities. These grants fund programs enabling them to offer affordable or zero-cost services to the undeserving.
Utah Dental Association, Delta Dental, Donated Dental Services and American Dental Association are stakeholders of oral health in Utah. They provide cash support to volunteer dentists committing their time and skills to serve Utahans from ignored areas and populations.
According to the Dental Lifeline Networks of Utah, the organization only accepts the following applicants to its program
- Seniors above 65
- Individuals with permanent disabilities
- People with no means of affording dental treatments
- Medically compromised patients
Something to note is that DLN programs don’t offer cosmetic or emergency services, and dental treatments are provided, only to eligible candidates.
Dental Grants: Dental Lifeline Networks has over 125 dentists serving in its programs, 50 labs for check-ups and running tests, and has provided $1 million in donated treatment to over 200 patients. DLN and other programs receive grants from non-profit groups to support their programs that improve the oral health of Utahans.
Cosmetic Dental Grants: Any senior that can prove that their mouth is healthy enough to handle a cosmetic dental procedure can apply for a CDG. CDGs do not cover preventive care treatments like fillings and cleanings. If these treatments are necessary before your cosmetic surgery, you will have to pay out-of-pocket.
Dental Implant Grants: Dental implants are an expensive type of tooth replacement treatment that is efficient and better in appearance than other options. Many seniors opt for dental implant grants to help cover part of the dental implant expenses making the services more affordable.
Free Dental Implant Clinical Trials: Clinical trials kill two birds with one stone. They provide low-income households with an opportunity to receive dental implants and other treatment benefits while offering dental care providers a chance to test new drugs, machines, and methods for safety and efficiency.
Participation in clinical trials is voluntary. Although, only patients with specific dental care are eligible to participate. Procedures are carried out by students of dentistry schools under the strict supervision of faculty staff.
Are There Charities/Local Organizations That Help With Dental Costs?
Senior Charity Care Foundation: The SCCF believes that seniors should be able to receive healthcare services regardless of their ability to pay. The non-profit organization runs a dental program that offers dentures, fillings, cleanings, crowns, and pain treatments. Prices for services are sliding-scale.
Free or Low-cost Dental Clinics Near Me in Utah
Utah has no-cost, affordable, non-profit, and sliding-fee-scale dental clinics. These dental clinics were established to serve the underprivileged in society.
- Salt Lake Donated Dental Services- Salt Lake City
- Seager Memorial Clinic- Ogden
- Community Health Centers Inc., Oquirrh View Medical & Dental Clinic- Taylorsville
- Utah Partners of Health- Midvale
- Premier Dental Care of Utah- West Valley City
- University of Utah School of Dentistry- Salt Lake City
If you’re looking for affordable dental clinics near you, please search for “Free dental care near me” and the result may bring a list with helpful information about clinics available in your county.
Does Medicare Pay For Dental In Utah?
No, Medicare does not pay for dental. Medicare Part A and B lack dental coverage. Seniors needing help covering dental expenses can get discounted dental plans. Or you can get a stand-alone dental cover to supplement your Medicare Original Plans. Another option you can consider is Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) which offer hearing, vision, and dental coverage. This additional coverage is provided by private insurance companies, so you will have to pay more for coinsurance. The disadvantages of MA plans are the maximum annual benefit amount set and the limited dental care services the plans cover. Moreover, Medicare Part C follows a co-sharing approach for expensive treatments like dental implants. Consider getting Medicare Prescription Assistance (Part D) which will settle prescribed drug expenses for medications needed after oral surgery.
Are There Grants/ Programs For Helping With Teeth Cleaning, Fillings, Decay And Root Canal Costs?
Medicaid: Medicaid provides dental coverage for seniors above 65 who qualify for the Targeted Adult Medicaid. Eligible seniors will receive all dental services from the University of Utah School of Dentistry. Dental benefits include:
- Root canal treatment
- Pulling teeth
- Emergency care for acute pain
- X-rays, exams, and cleanings, twice a year
- Front teeth fillings
- Silver fillings on back teeth
Before you begin treatment, confirm with your dentist that the dental care service has received authorization.
The Utah Department of Workforce Services Financial Assistance Program is a cash support program offered by the Department of workforce services to help needy families. It helps the underprivileged find employment related to their skills. In addition, training seniors is done, equipping them with skills that can be used at work to enable them to be self-sufficient.
The Community Development Block Grant Program in Utah is a cash support program founded by federal authorities that helps seniors facing financial constraints. The waiting period is long due to many applicants, so ensure you apply for this benefit as soon as possible if you’re eligible.
Senior Utahans may be able to handle some of the challenges they face. But once financial constraints are in the picture, it may be harder to solve these issues without financial assistance. The costs of dental care services have led to many seniors delaying or avoiding care, accelerating their situations into emergency problems. Dental grants are necessary to increase the accessibility of dental treatments to low-income older adults.