Emergencies don’t keep regular hours—they often occur when you least expect them. Some people wake up in the middle of the night with a throbbing pain deep in the jaw; others have a tooth knocked out during a weekend game of backyard basketball. It’s stressful enough when a dental emergency happens—even without worrying about how you’re going to pay for it if you don’t have dental insurance. But one thing is certain: You shouldn’t let the lack of insurance stop you from getting needed treatment. Here are five suggestions for uninsured people dealing with dental emergencies.
1) Be Prepared for an Emergency
Do you know what to do if disease or accident results in injury to your teeth, jaw, or the soft tissue of your mouth? A little preparation can go a long way toward making sure you get the best outcome—and it may help you control costs as well. The website section on dental emergencies is a common-sense guide that explains what to do in several situations where urgent care may be needed. Becoming familiar with this and other resources BEFORE an emergency strikes can help you manage difficult circumstances with confidence.
2) Seek Immediate Help When Necessary
When an emergency is potentially life-threatening, there’s no time to think about the cost. If there is uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain, difficulty breathing, disorientation or loss of consciousness, go to the nearest emergency room without delay. If you have a knocked-out tooth, seek immediate dental care: You will have the best chance for keeping the tooth if it is quickly re-implanted in is socket by an on-scene caregiver, and treated by a dentist right away. Likewise, a broken, loosened or cracked tooth or a painful abscess in the jaw should be treated within 6-12 hours. Immediate treatment can not only relieve the pain—it may also save you from bigger expenses (like tooth extraction and replacement) in the future.
3) Schedule Treatment When Possible
If your dental dilemma isn’t a full-blown emergency, schedule an appointment to have it treated as soon as you can. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to repair a chipped tooth with economical cosmetic bonding; alternately, a dental crown restoration may be needed. A root canal procedure is often recommended to relieve pain and remove an infection deep within the tooth. But don’t ignore the symptoms of a potential dental problem—in most cases, prompt treatment is both less invasive and less costly than waiting until the issue gets too big to ignore.
4) Use a Dental Discount Plan
If you have time, you could call a number of reputable dental practices and shop around for the best prices. Or, you could join a dental savings plan, pay a yearly membership fee, and leave the comparison shopping to others. Like a warehouse club, DentalPlans™ gives its members access to discounted rates from dental care providers, ranging from 10% to 60% off the usual fees for a wide range of services.
With over 40 plans available, we offer access to more than 100,000 dentists nationwide. It normally takes just three days to activate your membership—but if you have an emergency, call us: we may be able to activate your membership sooner.
5) Get Regular Preventive Care
Some dental emergencies result from accidents that can’t be foreseen. Others arise when proper preventive care is lacking. If you have been avoiding the dental office because you’re worried about the cost of treatment, a dental savings plan might help you get the care you need. And that could help keep you smiling for a long time to come.
To learn more call one of our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.