Dental Services FAQ
- There seems to be a lot of confusing terminology used in dentistry. What are some basic definitions?
- Is dental work covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid?
- I heard that some dental schools offer free or low cost services. Is that true?
- Do local governments provide any free or low-cost dental services?
Updated March 2010
Q. There seems to be a lot of confusing terminology used in dentistry. What are some basic definitions?
A. Some basics are listed below:
- Crown: material used to cover damaged teeth
- Extraction: removal of a tooth
- Filling: silver or white material used to fill cavities
- Denture: false tooth
- Scaling: removal of material from the teeth with a sharp object
- Anesthesia: local, numbing of an area. Anesthesia can be local (a specific area), or general (completely asleep)
- Oral surgery: cutting with an instrument
- Orthodontia: straightening of teeth with braces
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A. Generally, the answer is no for private insurance. Some plans may have a special clause covering dental work though. Check with your plan.
Medicare does not cover routine dental care or most dental procedures such as cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions or dentures. In rare cases, Medicare Part B will pay for certain dental services. In addition, Medicare Part A will pay for certain dental services that you get when you are in the hospital.
States may elect to provide dental services to their adult Medicaid-eligible population or elect not to provide dental services at all as part of its Medicaid program. Most states provide at least emergency dental services for adults.
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A. It is true that some schools offer free or low-cost services that are provided by students who are learning to be dentists. However not all dental schools will offer such a plan. ECNV suggests you contact dental schools in your area to ask if they have such a program. Listed below are some schools in the Northern Virginia area but you may be able to find more listed under “Dental Schools”.in the Yellow Pages.
College of Dentistry
600 W Street, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20059
(202) 806-0440 (V/Relay)
(202) 806-0354 (Fax)
Washington Hospital Center
Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
110 Irving Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010-2975
(202) 877-7332 (V/Relay)
(202) 877-5602 (Fax)
Northern Virginia Community College
Dental Hygiene Program
Medical Education Campus
6699 Springfield Center Drive
Springfield, VA 22150-1913
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A. They may but patients must meet eligibility requirements. Listed below is the contact information for government dental programs in Northern Virginia.
Adult Dental Clinic
Alexandria Health Department
4480 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
703-838-4420 x245 (V/Relay)
The Adult Dental Clinic provides emergency services to those 21 years of age and older who are residents of Alexandria and who meet the eligibility requirements. The Clinic also provides prosthetic dentures to senior residents of Alexandria (those over 60) who meet eligibility requirements. Patients must call for an appointment.
Arlington County Dental Clinic
2100 Washington Blvd. (Sequoia Pl., second floor), Arlington, VA. 22204
The program goal is to prevent the harmful effects of dental disease among members of the target population: children through high school age (and adults 60 years of age and older). The core services include preventive and diagnostic procedures such as examinations, x-rays, fluoride treatments, prophylaxis, and occlusal sealants.
Fairfax (includes the Cities of Fairfax and of Falls Church)
1850 Cameron Glen Drive, Suite 100
Reston, VA 22090
Joseph Willard Health Center
3750 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA, 22030
Mount Vernon Office
8350 Richmond Highway, Suite 233
Alexandria, VA. 22306
The Fairfax County Health Department has three Dental clinics in the County that provide services to children age 3-18 years old (sliding fee scale) or a valid Virginia Medicaid recipient age 3-20 years old.
Loudoun County Health Department
102 Heritage Way, NE, 1st Floor
Leesburg, VA 20176
The Loudoun County Health Department provides a variety of dental services for citizens up to the age of 21 who meet income eligibility criteria that include: oral hygiene instruction, fluorides, dental sealants, diagnostic X-rays, restorative services, minor oral surgery and referrals for other dental work. Adult dental emergency care is also provided.
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