Dental Grants in Louisiana 2024

Dental implant grants in Louisiana: Dental care is extremely important for overall health and well-being. However, dental work can be very expensive, putting it out of reach for many low-income individuals and families in Louisiana. Fortunately, some organizations provide dental grants to help cover the costs of cleanings, fillings, dentures, braces, and more extensive procedures like root canals, crowns, bridges, and dental implants. This guide covers the main options for accessing dental grants in Louisiana in 2023.

Types of Dental Grants in Louisiana

There are a few main types of free dental grants and services available in Louisiana:

  • Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network: This is a network of volunteer dentists who provide free dental care to qualifying low-income, elderly, and disabled individuals with no dental insurance. Treatments include cleanings, fillings, extractions, antibiotics, and X-rays.
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): FQHCs receive federal funding to serve uninsured and underserved communities. Many have on-site dental clinics that use sliding scale fees based on your ability to pay.
  • Louisiana Donated Dental Services (DDS): The DDS program links low-income seniors and disabled individuals with volunteer dentists who provide free reconstructive dental care, such as dentures, root canals, and crowns.
  • Medicaid and CHIP Dental: Medicaid provides dental benefits to children and some adults in Louisiana. The Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) also covers children in families who earn too much for Medicaid.
  • Dental Schools: LSU School of Dentistry and other dental schools can provide lower-cost dental services while training students and residents.
  • Dental Grants for Veterans: The VA and groups like DAV provide some dental benefits to eligible veterans. Additional programs like VetSmile can help veterans access pro bono dental care.

Let’s look at each of these options in more detail:

Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network

The Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network (LDLN) is part of a national association that manages dental lifeline programs in 49 states. The LDLN consists of a network of over 400 volunteer dentists backed by donations from the public, corporations, and grants. These dentists provide charitable dental care to eligible patients.

To qualify for free dental services from LDLN, you must:

  • Live in Louisiana
  • Have a permanent disability or be elderly (65 or older)
  • Have no dental insurance or be underinsured
  • Have an income below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL)
  • Unable to afford or access dental care

The free treatments offered include:

  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Tooth extractions
  • Antibiotics
  • X-rays

More extensive procedures like root canals, crowns, bridges, and dental implants are generally not provided. For major dental work, you would need to explore options like the Louisiana Donated Dental Services program.

To apply to the LDLN program, you fill out an online application or call 1-888-471-6334. If approved, you will be referred to a participating dentist located near you.

Federally Qualified Health Centers

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are community-based health clinics that receive federal funding grants to provide primary care services in underserved areas. Most FQHCs have an on-site dental clinic.

Over 20 FQHC organizations are operating more than 160 clinics across Louisiana. These include organizations like CrescentCare in New Orleans, SWLA Center for Health Services in Lake Charles, and Northshore Healthcare Solutions with locations across southeast Louisiana.

Dental services at Louisiana FQHCs include:

  • Dental exams and x-rays
  • Cleanings
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Fillings and extractions
  • Root canals
  • Crowns
  • Complete and partial dentures
  • Oral surgery
  • some locations offer specialty dental services like braces

FQHCs use sliding scale fees, so you pay discounted rates based on your income and family size. Most accept Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. FQHCs will not deny services to anyone based on inability to pay.

To find an FQHC near you and see if you qualify for the sliding fee discount program, use the Find a Health Center search tool.

Louisiana Donated Dental Services

The Louisiana Dental Association Donated Dental Services (DDS) program provides free reconstructive dental care to people who are disabled, elderly, or medically compromised and have no financial means to access treatment.

Volunteer dentists and dental labs donate their time, services, facilities, and materials. Procedures provided include:

  • Dentures
  • Partial dentures
  • Relining dentures
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Root canals
  • Oral surgery

To qualify for Louisiana’s DDS program, you must:

  • Live in Louisiana
  • Have a permanent disability or medically compromising condition
  • Have no dental insurance
  • Have an income below 200% of the federal poverty level
  • Lack of access to care and financial means for treatment

You can apply by completing an online application or calling LSU School of Dentistry at 504-619-8770. The application process can take 4-6 months. If accepted, you will be matched with a volunteer dentist in your area.

Medicaid & CHIP Dental Coverage

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide dental coverage for eligible low-income residents in Louisiana.


Medicaid offers dental benefits to the following groups:

  • Children under age 21– includes regular dental checkups, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, and other medically necessary dental care. Orthodontics may be covered if medically necessary.
  • Pregnant women– includes dental checkups, x-rays, cleanings, periodontal treatment, fillings, and other basic dental treatments. Does not cover cosmetic or orthodontic services.
  • Adults with certain disabilities or medical conditions– have limited dental benefits, primarily extractions and dentures. Some additional basic procedures may be covered.

To qualify for Medicaid dental coverage, you must be approved for Medicaid and meet eligibility criteria like income limits. Coverage levels and services can vary depending on your exact Medicaid plan.

Dentists who accept Medicaid are listed by parish or zip code in the Medicaid Dental Provider Search.

CHIP Dental

The CHIP program provides low-cost dental coverage to children up to age 19 from families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. There are no premiums or deductibles.

CHIP dental services include regular checkups, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, fluoride treatments, sealants, tooth extractions, crowns, and more extensive procedures. Cosmetic orthodontics is typically not covered.

To qualify for CHIP dental benefits in Louisiana, your family’s income must be between 214 and 366% of the FPL. The child must be uninsured. Apply online through Healthy Louisiana.

Dental Schools

Getting dental work done at Louisiana dental schools can cost 20-50% less than private dental offices. These schools provide dental services while training students and residents, under the supervision of experienced dentists. Procedures take longer but the cost is lower.

The main option is the LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans. They offer a wide range of general and specialty dental services at discounted rates. You can call 504-619-8770 to schedule an appointment.

Other Louisiana schools with dental clinics include:

  • University of Louisiana Monroe – Dental Hygiene Clinic
  • Louisiana State University Shreveport – School of Allied Health Dental Program
  • Southern University School of Dentistry in New Orleans

In addition, mobile dental clinics operated by LSU and other schools travel to underserved communities around the state providing free dental care.

Dental Grants for Veterans

Veterans may qualify for dental benefits through the VA or organizations like Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Options include:

  • VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP)– provides eligible veterans and families with discounts on dental services from approved private dentists.
  • VA Dental Care– provides free dental care to certain veterans, including those with service-connected disabilities, former POWs, and low-income veterans. Treatments are limited based on eligibility.
  • DAV Mobile Dental Program– provides free cleanings, fillings, extractions, and dentures to eligible veterans in Louisiana. The mobile dental clinics serve veterans onsite at VA facilities, community centers, and other locations.

Other programs that provide free or discounted dental care to veterans in need include VetSmile, Heart of Silver, and Happy Tooth.

Other Dental Grant Programs

Here are a few other organizations that provide dental grants or free/reduced dental care in certain situations:

  • Smiles Across Louisiana– offers grants to cover extractions and dentures for people with financial need.
  • NewMouth Dental Grants– provides grants of up to $2,500 for children and veterans with unmet dental needs.
  • NeedyMeds Dental Clinics– provides listings of free, low-cost, and sliding-scale dental clinics across Louisiana.
  • Surdna Foundation Grants– fund programs providing access to dental care for people with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities.
  • CareQuest Institute for Oral Health– offers grants supporting programs that provide dental care access to underserved groups in Louisiana.
  • America’s ToothFairy– helps fund dental care and improve oral health for at-risk children. Distributes grants through local organizations.

Tips for Affording Dental Care

If you still need help affording dental treatment after exploring those options, here are some additional tips:

  • Apply for medical credit through providers like CareCredit to finance larger dental procedures interest-free.
  • Search for discounted dental services events held periodically by organizations like Dentistry From The Heart.
  • Visit a dental school clinic for lower-cost procedures.
  • Negotiate costs and payment plans with your dentist. Many are willing to work with patients who pay cash.
  • Travel to Mexico or Costa Rica for cheaper dental care. The savings on extensive treatments like implants can outweigh travel costs.
  • Discuss bill reduction or charity care with hospital and clinic billing departments if you can’t afford a dental emergency room bill.
  • Look for dental savings plans like those from Delta Dental and Careington that provide discounts on services from member dentists.
  • Buy dental discount cards that let you use dentists in the network at discounted rates, paying cash. Can yield 10-60% savings.
  • Use flexible spending account (FSA) funds to pay for dental expenses tax-free if your employer offers the benefit.
  • Shop around when paying out-of-pocket, and compare prices from different dentists for the same procedures.

We hope this guide helps you access grants and affordable dental care services in Louisiana. With a combination of the options listed above, many low-income families and individuals can get the quality dental treatment they need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Dental Grants in Louisiana

  1. Who provides dental grants in Louisiana?

Some of the main providers of dental grants and free/reduced dental care in Louisiana include the Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Louisiana Donated Dental Services, Medicaid/CHIP programs, dental schools, and organizations that assist veterans, seniors, the disabled and children in need.

  1. What dental treatments are covered by grants in Louisiana?

It depends on the program, but common treatments covered fully or partially through Louisiana dental grants include:

  • Dental Exams & X-rays
  • Teeth Cleanings
  • Fluoride Treatments
  • Fillings
  • Tooth Extractions
  • Root Canals
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Dentures (often partial coverage)
  • Dental Implants (partial grants in some cases)

More extensive reconstructive work like dentures, bridges, and implants are only fully covered through donated dental services programs for the most in-need groups.

  1. Who qualifies for free dental grants and services in Louisiana?

Each program has specific eligibility criteria, but in general dental grants are limited to people with low incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, no dental insurance, disabilities, seniors age 65+, veterans, and children. Applicants must reside in Louisiana.

  1. How can I apply for dental grants in Louisiana?

There are a few ways to apply:

  • Complete an online application with organizations directly, like the Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network and Louisiana Donated Dental Services.
  • Apply for Medicaid and CHIP dental coverage through Healthy Louisiana online or at your local Medicaid office.
  • Contact individual federally qualified health centers, dental schools, and clinics directly to ask about their application process for discounted services.
  • For programs that assist veterans, call the VA Health Care Center or veterans organizations like DAV and VetSmile.
  1. What do I need to bring to my appointment to get grant-funded dental care?

The required documents can include:

  • Photo ID
  • Proof of Louisiana residency
  • Proof of income (last tax return, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Social security card or documentation of disability
  • Medicaid card (if applicable)
  • VA eligibility letter (for veteran services)

Check with your specific dental program provider to confirm which documents are needed when you obtain approved services.


The cost of dental care can put good oral health out of reach for many low-income families and individuals. Louisiana has several programs that provide grants and sliding-scale services to make dental care more affordable. Key options include the Louisiana Dental Lifeline Network, FQHCs, Medicaid and CHIP, donated dental services, dental schools, and assistance for veterans. By understanding the grants available, adults, children, and seniors in need can access dental clinics and dentists to get essential dental treatment at reduced or no cost. Regular dental care is vital for good overall health.

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