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How do I Choose the Best Medicaid Dental Providers?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medicaid dental providers may be easy or difficult to find depending upon the Medicaid enrollee’s age, and the state. At present, all states in the US must provide dental coverage for people under 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid, but usually there are only a few Medicaid dental providers to choose from within mid-sized or larger cities. Only half of the states in the US provide dental care for people 21 or older, and each state has the option to provide or decline this care. Thus in some cases it may be impossible to find a dentist accepting Medicaid for those over 21 because the state in which the person lives has no provisions for dental care through this program.

There are several ways to look for Medicaid dental providers for children or adults. These can include searching on the US Health and Human Services website. This website will allow people to search the physician directory for both Medicaid and Medicare providers. Search can be limited by city, town, zip code and distance to find those Medicaid dental providers closest, or those that most appear appropriate.

Another place to get names of Medicaid dental providers is through the state agency that administrates the state arm of the Medicaid program. This is a good resource because the state and the federal government jointly run each Medicaid program. The state agency is also the best place to find out if a person’s state does offer dental benefits for those who are 21 or older.

If a person is entitled to dental benefits under Medicaid, the next thing to do is start talking to friends, acquaintances or other health providers to see if they are familiar with any of the providing dentists in the area. A few names can stand out as people speak with others, either because the dentist is recommended or because he or she is not. People can garner a lot of information from word of mouth sources, and talking to health care providers can be especially helpful in judging the professionalism of dentists or a particularly dental group. General practitioners who are Medicaid providers may particularly have opinions or recommendations because they must refer their Medicaid patients to dentists from time to time, and will likely have worked with some Medicaid dental providers on a person’s list.

People may also interview a dentist to determine experience, friendliness, cleanliness of offices, professionalism and other factors to then help judge which dentist seems to be the best of the Medicaid dental providers. However, again, it ought to be stated that choices may be fairly limited. There may be only a few local dentists that are providers.

For those eligible for Medicaid but who don’t have dental services, it may be helpful to do some local searching to find dentists that offer a sliding scale fee. Some communities have free dental clinics for poorer residents. When these are unavailable a few dentists may be willing to work with a client on flexible payment plants that can make dental care affordable. It may take some work to find these dentists, and might require a significant amount of phone calling to speak with dentists and see if they can work with either pricing or billing so adults can get the dental care they need.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Heavanet — On Apr 17, 2014

@ocelot60- One of these mobile clinics came to my town and offered quite a few dental services for children. The staff had a lot of business during the short time they were there, and they took registration from patients ahead to time because they expected a great turn out.

My tip for people who are planning to use this type of dental care is to call ahead and make they are on the list when the clinic arrives. Space is limited and demand is high, so clients may miss out on this opportunity if they wait to register.

By Ocelot60 — On Apr 16, 2014

If there are no medicaid dentists in a particular area, you can also ask family, friends, medical providers, and human service agencies if they are aware of any mobile dental clinics. These unique dental providers are popping up all around the country, and travel from city to city to help out low-income people, especially children, get the dental care they need.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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