UCLA School of Dentistry: uclasod.dent.ucla.edu (click on "patient care" ); (310) 825-2337.

USC School of Dentistry: dentistry.usc.edu (click on "becoming a patient"); (213) 740-2805. For possible same-day emergency appointments, call (213) 740-1576.

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry: www .llu.edu/dentistry (click on "patient services"); (909) 558-4675. For urgent-care appointments, call (909) 558-4666.

Some dental hygiene schools host clinics. Contact the schools on this California Dental Hygienists' Assn. list to see if schools near you offer such clinics: www.cdha.org/education/dh_schools.htm.

... And community clinics

Many, though not all, community health clinics in California offer a full range of dental services free or on a sliding scale based on income.

Until recently, the average wait had been 28 days, but that may have increased with the recent Denti-Cal cuts. Call ahead to make sure dental care is still provided and to make an appointment.

And if you're having an emergency, such as severe pain, call to find out about walk-in appointments. You may have to wait, but they could be available. Recent data from the clinics found that 20% of people who make appointments failed to show up on the scheduled day.

Find clinics that offer dental services by calling the California Primary Care Assn. at (888) 895 0808 or through the California Dental Assn. at www.cda.org/clinics (expect to be asked for income information).