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Patients & the Public

This page offers help in finding dental care and learning how to have good oral health. You can find information on places and programs that offer dental care to people with lower incomes, no dental insurance or those living with HIV or AIDS. The Oral Health Fact Sheets section lists fact sheets created by the Oral Health Program and others, and has links to websites that have information on many oral health topics.

Getting Dental Care

Listed below are ways you may be able to find dental care for yourself or your family.

Safety Net Dental Care Programs

Safety net dental clinics provide dental care to people on Medicaid, and offer sliding-fees, reduced fees or free care to patients who don't have dental insurance or can't afford to pay a private dentist. The dental "safety net" includes public dental clinics, dental care provided to schoolchildren, and mobile/portable dental care programs (e.g., mobile dental vans). These programs provide basic dental care such as exams, X-rays, fillings, extractions, root canals and dentures. 

Ohio currently has more than 170 safety net clinics in 60 counties, however, more than 25 counties have no dental clinic. They are listed, by county, in this spreadsheet  and brochure. Counties that are not listed in the spreadsheet or brochure do not have a safety net dental clinic.  

Many clinics require that you live in the same county to get dental care. Please contact each clinic to learn more about the dental care offered, the hours the clinic is open and payment options.

Healthy Start-Healthy Families

Children, families and pregnant women can receive free and low-cost dental care through Healthy Start-Healthy Families run by the Ohio Department of Medicaid. Besides dental care, many other types of health care such as doctor visits, prescriptions (drugs), hospital care and vaccines are covered.  

Workers at your local county Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) office can help you. Find the ODJFS office near you. Call the Medicaid Consumer Hotline toll-free at 1-800-324-8680 if you need more help. 


Dental OPTIONS (Ohio Partnership To Improve Oral health through access to Needed Services) is a program provided through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Dental Association that helps eligible, low-income, uninsured adults in Ohio obtain access to dental care by linking them with volunteer dentists.

The Ohio Department of Health has contracted with the Dental Lifeline Network to operate the Dental OPTIONS Program.

Dental OPTIONS provides: 

  • Donated care to older adults, people with disabilities or compromising medical conditions. 
  • Discounted care to low-income Ohioans with minimal financial means and/or severe dental needs, who do not have dental insurance or qualify for Medicaid. 

Dental OPTIONS is not an emergency dental care program. The program is currently accepting applications in some, but not all Ohio counties. Patients are pre-screened by the Dental Lifeline Network and may be matched with volunteer OPTIONS dentists. To apply, please call (toll free) 1-888-765-6789 or visit the Dental Lifeline Network website.

As a volunteer dentist or lab:

The process to join Dental OPTIONS as a volunteer is easy. Dentists decide their level of participation, including the number of patients to see each year, the frequency, and type of patient ( e.g., the elderly on a fixed income, working poor, single parent, disabled, etc.) Dentists also decide whether to accept patients eligible for donated or discounted care or both.

Referral coordinators handle the paperwork and other administrative tasks of the program, which can include:

  • Handling preliminary phone calls.
  • Referring callers to other community resources if not eligible for OPTIONS.
  • Reviewing applications to determine eligibility.
  • Making initial contacts with the dental office regarding the patient, working with patients to ensure follow through with care, and adhering to guidelines of the program.
  • Collecting treatment values from the dentist, and more.

Dentists can participate by providing care on a discounted fee or donated basis, or both. For dentists who provide donated care:

  • Laboratory fees for donated care patients are covered through the OPTIONS program.
  • Dentists providing donated care are eligible for up to 13 hours of their Ohio State Dental Board (OSDB) biennium CE requirement through volunteer CE. (1 hour of clinical volunteer service = 1 CE credit hour.)  

As an OPTIONS dentist, you will make a difference to someone in need in your community!

Please call (toll free) 1-888-765-6789 for information on how to participate in the OPTIONS program as a volunteer dentist or lab, or visit the Ohio Dental Association website.

Current OPTIONS providers with questions may contact David Mounsey at dmounsey@dentallifeline.org, or call (toll free) 1-888-765-6789 or 1-614-379-1115.

Dental Care for People Living with HIV or AIDS

The Ryan White Emergency Financial Assistance (RWEA) program helps people who are HIV-positive and have an emergency need that is HIV-related, including dental care. Clients must be enrolled in the Ryan White program and be referred by a medical case manager.

Oral Health Fact Sheets

Listed below are easy-to-read oral health fact sheets. You will need Adobe Acrobat Viewer on your computer to view them. Click here to download the free Adobe Acrobat Viewer.

Other Oral Health Websites and Fact Sheets

Visit the websites listed below to learn more about how to maintain a healthy mouth at any age, or to order free or low-cost fact sheets (many in other languages).