Dental care in NYC

Hi Alice,

I need a tooth to be filled but don't know where to find a dentist and what dental plan is best in NYC. Columbia's dental plan doesn't cover tooth-filling and I'll need to shop around myself. Any suggestions are appreciated!


Dear D,

Sorry to hear that you will soon be facing the drill, but there is some good news. The dental benefits package that is a part of the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan does include a discount plan for fillings (and other restorative services). In order to utilize the benefit, a student must receive services through Morningside Dental Associates (MDA), a program of the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery, which offers two clinic locations and two additional practices for oral surgery. All dental care is provided by dentists enrolled in a post-graduate fellowship program.

Students enrolled in the Gold level of the Student Health Insurance Plan receive a 10 percent discount off MDA's regular fees. Students enrolled in the comprehensive level of the plan receive a 25 percent discount. Keep in mind that MDA's regular fees are already lower than the fees charged by private providers in the community. Therefore, students enrolled in the Columbia Student Health Insurance Plan not only benefit from these lower fees, but also the further discounted rates offered to students in the plan. As a result, the cost of receiving dental care through MDA is likely to be significantly less than the cost of obtaining services through private dentists.

Columbia also offers dental insurance coverage to students and their dependents through the Aetna Advantage Dental Plan. Coverage through this plan is optional for students and provides dental insurance that covers hundreds of private practice dentists throughout the country in Aetna's network. For more information about rates and enrolling, visit the Columbia Health website.

For more information about MDA's services, students may call MDA at 212.865.8467.

Students at schools other than Columbia should contact their school's health service for information about dental coverage. Other readers can consult the Human Resources department at their place of work, their insurance administrator, or the American Dental Association for a listing of providers in their area. Wishing you a fulfilling dental experience,

Last updated Jul 11, 2014
Originally published Oct 12, 2001

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