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4 ways to save money on dental care in metro Atlanta - even without insurance

Regular dental care can help keep your teeth looking good and your mouth pain-free, but it has even broader effects. It's an important part of taking care of your overall health, and without it, diseases such as diabetes can be more difficult to control.

If you don't have dental insurance, you may be tempted to skip routine checkups and cleanings and even put off needed work due to the expense. Try the following four ways to save money and still take care of your teeth, even if you don't have insurance:

Let supervised students do the work

Students who are learning to clean teeth and conduct other procedures need to hone their skills, so they work on patients while they're still in school. The work is always done under the supervision of faculty members.

-Clayton State University Dental Hygiene ProgramEdgewater Hall on campus, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow. 678-466-4000. clayton.edu/health/Dental-Hygiene/Clinic.

Services are offered for a reduced rate, including $12 for a new patient oral health screening and $40 for an adult cleaning with fluoride.

-Georgia Perimeter College Dental Hygiene Clinic

NC Building, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody. 770-274-5140. depts.gpc.edu/~gpcdh.

Services include an exam, teeth cleaning, fluoride and X-rays at a cost of $40 for adults ages 19-59.

Shop around

The thought of shopping around for dental care may seem a bit unusual, but costs do vary. Check sites such as Brighter or Fair Health Consumer for an idea of how much area dentists charge for particular services. You'll still want a dentist with a good reputation and reviews, of course, but you can save money by comparing costs.

In addition, if you're able to pay cash, some dentists offer a discount that can range from 5 to 10 percent.

Use a deal site

If you need basic services, look on a deal site like Groupon or Living Social for dental services in metro Atlanta.

You'll find a lot of teeth whitening deals, which may not be your top priority, but you'll also usually see packages that cover services such as cleanings and X-rays.

Visit a low-cost or no-cost clinic

Metro Atlanta has many clinics that provide income-based dental care, including the following:

-Good Samaritan Health Center

Atlanta, Marietta, Norcross locations. goodsamatlanta.orggoodsamcobb.org and goodsamgwinnett.org.

-The Family Health Center of Georgia

Atlanta, Marietta locations. 404-752-1400. fhcga.org.

-Sweetwater Valley Clinic

4485 North Town Square, Suite 108, Powder Springs. 678-398-6548. chcaustell.org.

-DeKalb County Board of Health

5 locations. dekalbhealth.net/hs/dental-health.

-Mercy Care

Multiple Atlanta locations. mercyatlanta.org.

-Ben Massell Dental Clinic

700 14th Street NW, Atlanta. 404-881-1858. benmasselldentalclinic.org.

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