Dental Grants in Tennessee for 2024

Access to dental care is extremely important for overall health and well-being. However, dental treatment can be very expensive, putting it out of reach for many Tennesseans. Thankfully, there are several dental grant programs available for Tennessee residents who need financial assistance paying for dental care. This guide provides an overview of the types of dental grants available in Tennessee for 2024 and how to apply for them.

Types of Dental Grants in Tennessee

There are a few different types of dental grants available for Tennessee residents, including:

Government Dental Grants

Several government programs provide dental grants for those who qualify based on financial need. Key government dental grant programs in Tennessee include:

  • Medicaid: Medicaid provides dental coverage for children and some adults with limited incomes and resources. Services like cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and extractions are covered.
  • CHIP: The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers dental coverage for children from working families who don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.
  • Veterans Dental Care: The VA provides dental benefits to veterans who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Veterans must enroll in VA healthcare to be eligible.
  • Indian Health Services: Native American and Alaska Native individuals may qualify for grants that fully cover dental care through IHS clinics and tribal health programs.

Private Dental Grants

Many non-profit organizations and private foundations offer dental grants to help offset costs for those in need. These are competitive programs with limited funding. Key private dental grant programs in Tennessee include:

  • Dental Lifeline Network: Provides dental care grants for people who are elderly, have disabilities, or are medically fragile.
  • Mission of Mercy: Offers free pop-up dental clinics across the state over 2-3 day periods providing cleanings, fillings, and extractions.
  • United Healthcare Children’s Foundation: Grants up to $5,000 per child for dental care are available for families who meet income eligibility rules.
  • America’s ToothFairy: Provides dental care support for at-risk children up to age 19 in the form of treatment grants or donated supplies.
  • BenefitsCheckUp: Helps seniors find and apply for dental assistance programs that can provide checkups, dentures, and more.
  • United Way: Offers emergency dental grants in some communities across Tennessee.

Eligibility Requirements for Dental Grants

Each grant program has its own eligibility rules applicants must meet. Here are some of the key requirements:

  • Income: Most dental grants are limited to low-income households, with eligibility determined based on the Federal Poverty Level.
  • Age: Some grants are for children and teens only, while others help adults and seniors.
  • Disability Status: Certain grants target people with disabilities or special needs.
  • Military Service: Veterans grants require proof of honorable discharge from the armed forces.
  • Citizenship: S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status is required for government dental grants.
  • Tennessee Residency: You must live in Tennessee to qualify for state-based dental grants.
  • Dental Needs: Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have a dental condition requiring care.
  • Insurance Status: Most grants require applicants to be uninsured or underinsured.

Meeting all eligibility rules is key for dental grant approval. Providing documentation to verify income, identity, address, and other criteria is also part of the process.

How to Apply for Dental Grants in Tennessee

How to Apply for Dental Grants in Tennessee

Applying for dental grants takes some time and effort to find programs, gather paperwork, and complete applications. Here are some tips to successfully apply for dental grants in Tennessee:

  • Identify programs you likely qualify for based on eligibility rules, dental needs, location, etc. The grant types explained above are a starting point.
  • Learn the requirements for each grant and compile needed documents like ID, income verification, dental records, and proof of Tennessee residency.
  • Complete applications thoroughly and accurately. Follow all directions. Submit any supplemental material required.
  • Call to confirm receipt of your application and supporting documents so nothing gets overlooked.
  • Provide additional documentation if requested by the grant program to complete your application.
  • Follow up on the status if you don’t receive a response after the specified review period. Contact the program to check if they need anything else from you.
  • Reapply again for grants with rolling application periods or new cycles if you aren’t approved on the first try.

Top Dental Grant Programs in Tennessee

There are many great dental grants available for Tennessee residents in need. Here are some top programs to consider applying to:

  1. Dental Lifeline Network

Dental Lifeline Network provides dental care grants to people who are elderly, have disabilities or medical conditions, or are very low-income. Tennessee has local chapters serving the state. Approved applicants are matched with volunteer dentists who donate their services. A wide range of dental care needs can be met, including cleanings, fillings, dentures, extractions, and more. Applicants must have a permanent disability, be over 65, or qualify under income limits.

How to Apply: Applications are available on the Dental Lifeline Network website or by calling the local chapter. Supporting documents verifying eligibility are required.

  1. United Healthcare Children’s Foundation

The United Healthcare Children’s Foundation offers dental grants of up to $5,000 per child for families that meet income eligibility rules. Applicants can receive funding for basic dental care, repairs for accidents, orthodontia in severe cases, and more. Any child up to age 19 is eligible. Families must meet income requirements under state guidelines.

How to Apply: Applications are on the UHC Foundation website. Documentation like pay stubs, W2s, and Medicaid/CHIP denial letters help verify eligibility.

  1. Mission of Mercy

Mission of Mercy hosts free dental clinics across Tennessee that provide cleanings, x-rays, fillings, and extractions to uninsured, underserved groups. The pop-up clinics run for 2-3 days at large venues. Patients arrive early and are helped on a first-come basis. Up to 1,500 patients can be served during each event. Mission of Mercy visits different parts of Tennessee each year.

How to Apply: No pre-application is needed. Check the schedule on the Mission of Mercy site and arrive early on the first day of a clinic near you. Treatment is provided at no cost while supplies last.

  1. America’s ToothFairy

America’s ToothFairy helps underserved children in Tennessee up to age 19 receive dental care through treatment grants and donated oral health supplies. Eligible children must have no dental insurance coverage options. ToothFairy grantees include individual patients, non-profit clinics, and school-based programs. Funding can cover exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, extractions, and more.

How to Apply: Review eligibility and submit the online inquiry form on their website. The program then sends a full application to qualifying applicants. Supporting financial and dental documentation is required.

  1. Veterans Dental Care

The VA offers comprehensive dental care coverage for veterans who were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Enrolled veterans can receive services like exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, dentures, gum treatment, oral surgery, and more. Dental benefits are based on priority groups. The VA partners with dentists in the community for care.

How to Apply: Veterans must be enrolled in VA healthcare to qualify. Visit the VA website or contact a local VA facility to apply for enrollment and dental benefits. Proof of service and discharge status are required.

Other Potential Sources of Dental Assistance

In addition to grants, other resources may be available to help Tennesseans in need access affordable dental care:

  • Free and sliding fee clinics: These safety-net dental clinics serve uninsured patients, often with a sliding fee scale based on their ability to pay.
  • Dental schools: Dental students and faculty at schools like Meharry Medical College and the University of Tennessee provide low-cost care while training.
  • Dental society donation programs: Local dental societies may have projects offering free or discounted care.
  • Charitable medical funds: Some hospitals and non-profits have charitable funds that can help pay for dental treatment.
  • CareCredit: This healthcare credit card offers financing for dental work for those who qualify. It offers deferred and low-interest plans.
  • Dentist payment plans: Many dental providers offer payment plans to break up costs over time for patients paying out of pocket.

Talk to your dentist and explore all possible resources if you need help paying for dental treatment.

Dental Grants in Tennessee – FAQs

Are there grants just for kids’ dental care in Tennessee?

Yes, several grants focus on children’s dental needs. Medicaid and CHIP cover dental care for eligible low-income kids. America’s ToothFairy and United Healthcare Children’s Foundation grants help uninsured children get care. Additional options are sometimes available from private foundations and community health charities.

Where can I find applications for dental grants in Tennessee?

Most dental grant programs have applications available on their websites that can be printed out or submitted electronically. You can also request applications by calling local program offices and health clinics in your area that work with dental grants.

What dental services do grants cover?

It depends on the program, but common services covered include exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, crowns, bridges, dentures, oral surgery, gum treatment, and root canals. Some grants help with orthodontia in severe cases.

How long does it take to get approved for a TN dental grant?

Application review times vary across programs. It can take a few weeks to a few months to get an approval decision after submitting a complete application with all required documentation. Follow up with programs to check your application status.

Can I renew or reapply for dental grants?

You may be able to renew recurring grants annually if you still meet eligibility, like Medicaid. Other one-time grants can be reapplied for in the next grant cycle. There are also new grant opportunities over time you can try applying to if needed.


Dental grants provide critical financial assistance helping Tennesseans in need gain access to dental services they otherwise couldn’t afford. Several government, private foundations, charity, and nonprofit grant programs exist for both adults and children. By exploring every possible source, understanding eligibility, and applying thoroughly, you can increase your chances of being approved for much-needed dental care funding.

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