Dental Grants in West Virginia in 2024

West Virginia is known as the Mountain State, with its rugged Appalachian terrain and dense forests. However many West Virginians struggle to access dental care due to the rural nature of the state and economic challenges. Thankfully, there are several options for dental grants in West Virginia for 2024 that can help provide access to quality oral healthcare.

Understanding Dental Grants

Dental grants are funds awarded by government, non-profit, or private organizations to help individuals obtain dental care they otherwise could not afford. Grants do not need to be repaid like loans.

There are several types of dental grants available:

Government Grants – Government grants are provided by federal, state, or local government agencies. Examples are Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Non-Profit Grants – Non-profit organizations like United Way and Salvation Army may offer dental grants. These are funded through donations, fundraising, and endowments.

Private Grants – Some dental clinics, hospitals, insurance providers, and advocacy groups offer their grant programs to increase access.

Needs-Based Grants – These provide free dental care to low-income, uninsured, elderly, or disabled individuals who meet eligibility criteria.

Merit-Based Grants – Awarded based on academic, athletic, artistic talent, or other achievements, not financial need.

Benefits of Dental Grants

Dental grants can provide several advantages for those who receive them:

  • Cover or defray the costs of checkups, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, crowns, dentures, braces, and more
  • Reduce out-of-pocket expenses when dental insurance coverage is lacking
  • Allow access to dental care that recipients otherwise could not afford due to low-income
  • Fund major dental work needed for healthy teeth and gums
  • Support overall health since poor oral health is linked to diseases like heart disease and diabetes
  • Boost the self-esteem that comes with having a healthy smile

Ultimately, dental grants fill the gap when individuals do not have the financial means to access oral healthcare on their own.

West Virginia Dental Grant Programs

Several programs provide dental grants to West Virginians in need. Major options for 2024 include:

  1. Medicaid (Mountain Health Promise)

Medicaid is a federal and state program that provides medical assistance, including dental benefits, to eligible low-income adults, families, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities in West Virginia.

In West Virginia, Medicaid operates under the Mountain Health Promise program. Dental services covered include:

  • Exams, x-rays, cleanings, fillings, crowns
  • Root canals, dentures, extractions
  • Orthodontics in some cases

To qualify for Medicaid in West Virginia:

  • Must be a resident of West Virginia
  • Meet income limits (modified adjusted gross income of $18,755 or less for an individual in 2023)
  • Be a U.S. national, citizen, legal resident, or resident alien

Medicaid offers the most comprehensive dental benefits of any grant program in the state. Nearly 575,000 West Virginians utilize Medicaid.

  1. West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (WVCHIP)

CHIP provides low-cost dental and health coverage to children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. In 2023, CHIP eligibility extends up to 305% of the Federal Poverty Level.

WVCHIP covers a full range of dental services with no copay or deductible, including:

  • Oral exams, x-rays, cleanings
  • Fillings, extractions, root canals
  • Orthodontics, crowns, dentures
  • Partial reimbursement for braces

To be eligible, children must be 18 years old or younger, not have other health insurance, and meet citizenship requirements. Applicants can enroll year-round.

Nearly 22,000 West Virginia children are covered through WVCHIP.

  1. West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA)

State and public employees plus their dependents are eligible for dental benefits under PEIA. This covers:

  • Cleanings and oral exams
  • X-rays
  • Fillings and extractions
  • Dentures and bridges
  • Stainless steel crowns
  • Root canals and oral surgery

Members must use dentists in the MCNA dental network. Some procedures require copays and deductibles.

Around 230,000 West Virginians receive health benefits through PEIA. Retirees and their dependents also qualify.

  1. West Virginia Future Smiles Program

This program partners Virginia dentists with qualifying patients to provide free dental care days. provided via volunteer dentists on scheduled days.

Services include cleanings, fillings, extractions, x-rays, examinations, fluoride treatments, and education. Eligible patients include:

  • Uninsured and underinsured
  • Low-income children and adults
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Elderly patients

Care is provided at designated clinics in West Virginia communities. Patients must apply for eligibility through a referral site. Over 1,500 patients have been served.

  1. Missions of Mercy (MOM)

The West Virginia Dental Association, along with sponsors and hundreds of volunteers, provides free dental services over a two-day clinic. Treatments include:

  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Extractions
  • X-rays
  • Limited oral surgery

Care is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. The pop-up clinics serve around 1,500 patients annually at locations throughout West Virginia. The next planned MOM event is scheduled for Wise County in July 2024.

  1. Remote Area Medical (RAM)

RAM hosts pop-up free dental clinics across West Virginia to increase access to care. Their volunteer teams provide:

  • Dental cleanings
  • Fillings and extractions
  • X-rays

RAM held clinics in Pendleton and Raleigh Counties in 2022. Upcoming 2024 clinics are likely to serve the Beckley area. Patients receive numbers on a first-come basis when clinic doors open.

  1. Local Dental Society Grants

Many county and regional dental societies in West Virginia offer small grants or vocational scholarships for dental care based on financial need. These are often memorial funds to honor dentists. For example:

  • Dr. David White Fund (Monogalia-Preston Dental Society)
  • Frank Hutton Scholarship (Cabell County)
  • Dr. Hunter Scholarship (Wood County)
  • Claude S. Morris Scholarship (Raleigh County)

Grants may help with the cost of check-ups, x-rays, fillings, or dentures. Amounts vary but often range from $100 to $500.

  1. School-Based Sealant Programs

State public health and education departments partner to provide free dental sealants to low-income elementary students through school-based programs.

They are applied to healthy molars to prevent cavities. Programs exist in all 55 West Virginia counties, serving over 25,000 students.

Grants help fund supplies and equipment to sustain the programs. Students can get sealants without any family cost.

  1. Donated Dental Services (DDS)

DDS links underserved elderly, disabled, or medically compromised patients with volunteer dentists to provide free care. Treatments may involve:

  • Exams, x-rays
  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Root canals
  • Extractions
  • Dentures

Patients must lack adequate income to pay and demonstrate an inability to obtain care. Around 200 patients receive free dental services through the program each year.

  1. Dental Lifeline Network

This national program partners with charity dental clinics to provide free or reduced-cost dental care to qualified individuals. The West Virginia University School of Dentistry operates an affiliate program.

Treatments include cleanings, fillings, extractions, limited root canals, and dentures. Eligible patients include elderly, disabled, or medically fragile people with no dental insurance.

The program uses volunteer dentists. Applicants must apply and provide proof of income and medical need. Around 300 West Virginians receive care each year.

Finding a Dental Grant

Here are some tips for locating and applying for dental grants in West Virginia:

  • Check if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP based on your age, income level, and West Virginia residency.
  • See if you or your family members get health benefits through PEIA as a current or retired state employee.
  • Search for clinics offering charity dental days from programs like Missions of Mercy and Remote Area Medical.
  • Ask your dentist or check with local and regional dental societies about grant opportunities.
  • Inquire at nearby dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting schools if they offer reduced-cost services.
  • Contact public health departments and local schools to ask about sealant programs.
  • Research national programs like Donated Dental Services and Dental Lifeline Network.
  • Call 211 or speak to a social services agency to learn about assistance programs and eligibility.

Applying early maximizes your chances of receiving funds. Have income statements, dental records, and any other required documentation ready.

Accessing Care with Dental Grants

If you secure a dental grant, be sure to take full advantage of the funding:

  • Get a checkup – Receive a comprehensive exam, x-rays, and cleaning to assess your oral health.
  • Treat any cavities – Use grant money to fill any identified cavities before they worsen.
  • Extract problematic teeth – Remove damaged or decayed teeth that cannot be repaired.
  • Replace missing teeth – Consider dentures or bridges to restore your smile.
  • Straighten teeth if covered – Take the opportunity to get braces if you meet orthodontic criteria.
  • Receive preventive treatments like sealants and fluoride if offered. These help prevent future decay.
  • Ask about options for follow-up care to maintain improvements gained through initial grant-funded treatments.

Using dental grants to their fullest helps promote your long-term oral health.

Impact of Dental Grants in West Virginia

While many West Virginians struggle to access and afford oral healthcare, dental grants help provide services that:

  • Allow patients to get out of pain and receive necessary dental treatments
  • Restore form and function by replacing missing, damaged, or misaligned teeth
  • Avoid infections that can spread to the rest of the body
  • Prevent future dental problems through check-ups, sealants, and fillings
  • Save money compared to paying out-of-pocket for care
  • Sustain or boost self-esteem that comes with a healthy smile

Ultimately, dental grants make a difference by connecting West Virginia residents in need with dental providers willing to donate their time and services.

The Future of Dental Grants

Moving forward, West Virginia may see expanded dental grant opportunities and better integration of care.

  • Extension of Medicaid – If more adults qualify based on increased income limits, more can access Medicaid dental benefits.
  • CHIP reauthorization – Congress must renew funding periodically. This will help maintain children’s coverage.
  • New legislation – Bills like the Action for Dental Health Act propose grants for mobile dental clinics, workforce training, and prevention programs.
  • Partnerships – Collaborations like the new West Virginia Rural Dental Education Partnership Program can place students in rural clinics.
  • Technology integration – Tele-dentistry can provide screenings, education, and referrals to supplement in-person grant-funded care.
  • Dental therapist model – If approved in West Virginia, these midlevel providers could expand access.

Supporting dental grants now lays the groundwork for better overall oral health among West Virginia residents in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to pay back dental grants?

No, dental grants do not have to be repaid like loans as long as you comply with the program requirements. These are funds awarded with the intent of providing free or reduced-cost dental care.

  1. What if I have dental insurance?

Having dental insurance does not necessarily disqualify you from dental grants. However, programs that target uninsured, underinsured, or low-income patients will require you to provide details on your policy coverage and any out-of-pocket costs.

  1. Can I apply for multiple dental grants?

Yes, you can and should apply to as many dental grant programs as possible for which you may qualify. This will maximize your chances of being approved and expand the dental services available to you.

  1. Am I automatically approved if eligible?

Unfortunately, no. Many dental grant programs have more eligible applicants than funding available. Meeting all criteria for a grant does not guarantee approval, but it does give you the best chance in any selection process.

  1. Can grants cover major procedures like root canals?

It depends on the program. Some grants only cover basic cleanings and X-rays. But programs like Medicaid and CHIP provide more comprehensive benefits that can also include root canals, crowns, dentures, and braces when dental necessity is established.


Accessing dental care can be a challenge for uninsured or underinsured West Virginians due to the state’s high poverty rates and inadequate dental coverage. However numerous options exist for dental grants that can provide funding for cleanings, x-rays, sealants, fillings, extractions, and sometimes major procedures like dentures and braces to those in need.

Medicaid, CHIP, PEIA, charitable dental days, and local and national programs offer various grants based on age, income level, and other eligibility factors. By researching programs, finding local events, and applying promptly when opportunities arise, you can secure a dental grant and get on track for a healthier smile.

Leave a Comment