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Dentist Lack of dental coverage contributes to the delaying or forgoing of dental care by 1 in 4 adults, according to a KFF analysis of a 2019 national survey. (Photo: Yuriy Nedopekin/iStock)

Nevada dentist David White has seen diseased and rotted teeth in the mouths of patients who routinely put off checkups and avoided minor procedures such as fillings. While dental phobia is a factor, White said, the overriding reason people avoid treatment is cost.

To help patients lacking dental insurance, White in 2019 started offering a membership plan that looks much like an insurance policy — except it’s good only at his offices in Reno and Elko. Adults pay $29 a month — or $348 a year — and receive two free exams, two cleanings, X-rays and an emergency exam, services valued at $492. They also get a 20% discount on office procedures such as fillings and extractions.

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