A dental emergency can be scary enough; worrying about how you will pay for treatment when you have no insurance only compounds the anxiety. Here are some tips if you find yourself in this dilemma.
Injuries That Require Immediate Attention
There are some dental emergencies in which the only thing to do is rush to an emergency room—without regard to the cost. These include situations in which there is uncontrolled bleeding, severe pain, disorientation, or difficulty breathing.
A knocked-out permanent tooth is another cause to seek urgent care, but from a dentist not an emergency room. A knocked-out tooth will not remain viable unless it is re-implanted within minutes. If you are able to get to a dentist quickly and save the tooth, you will likely save money in the long run because tooth replacement can be costly. Knocked-out baby teeth are not re-implanted, but if a child who doesn’t yet have permanent teeth yet loses a tooth in an accident he or she should see a dentist by the next day, assuming there is no obvious damage, persistent bleeding or pain that needs immediate attention.
Injuries That Are Less Urgent
Other dental injuries that are less urgent but still require a dentist’s care include:
- Broken teeth can be repaired in a variety of ways, depending on how much tooth structure is involved and whether or not the tooth’s nerve has been damaged. Procedures for chipped or cracked teeth include bonding, dental crowns, and/or root canal treatment. The worst-case scenario is extraction.
- Loosened teeth can often be stabilized by splinting, especially if you see a dentist within six hours of the accident. Root canal treatment may also be needed.
- Tooth pain that persists is usually a symptom of an infection. Treatment ranges from a simple filling to a root canal. If the tooth can’t be saved, an extraction will be performed.
Dental Insurance May Not Cover Emergencies
Dental insurance is great for preventive dental care – regular checkups and cleanings are often free or nearly so if you have dental insurance. And since some dental insurance companies negotiate lower rates with their in-network dentists, you’ll likely get a lower rate on dental treatments as well – assuming you’re seeing an in-network dentist, have met your annual deductible, and aren’t nearing (or over) your annual spending limit.
And if you don’t have a dental insurance policy, don’t assume you can purchase one to reduce the cost of your dental emergency care. Dental insurance typically has a waiting period of 6-12 months (and, in some cases, up to two years) before you’re covered for procedures such as root canals, crowns, and other restorative treatments. And, depending on the insurance, it may never cover care for dental problems that you had before you purchased the plan.
So, if you already have insurance, great – hopefully the care you need to address your dental emergency won’t wipe out the amount that your insurance pays out for dental care each year. That’s called your annual cap or annual maximum, and it’s $1000-$1500 on average. That’s about the cost of a root canal and a crown.
No Dental Insurance? Maxed Out Your Insurance? Use A Dental Savings Plan
Dental savings plans, the affordable alternative to dental insurance, are often your best option when you need emergency dental care.
Since emergencies don’t happen on schedule – or on pay day – you need a solution that will help you pay for the care you need now – and may need in the future. You need a dental savings plan, also known as a dental discount plan.
Dental Savings Plans:
Save You 10%-60% on the cost of dental treatment. How much you save depends on the plan you join, and the treatment you need. Dentalplans.com enables you to search for plans that offer significant savings on specific treatments. Frankly, dental care is always going to take a bite out of your budget, but with a dental savings plan, dental care is far more affordable.
You don’t have to wait. Many plans activate within 24-hours of purchase. And, unlike insurance, there are no waiting periods before you can use your card to save on dental care.
No annoying annual spending limits. You can use your plan to save as often as you want.
Accepted at 100,000s of dentists nationwide. You get peace of mind knowing that you can get reduced rates on dental care while travelling, for your children who are attending college away from home, etc. You’re not tied to a specific dentist, as you are with an HMO plan – you can see any dentist who accepts your plan.
Easy to join, easy to use. There are no health screenings, background checks, or limits on age – any adult can join a dental plan. And members don’t have to wait for reimbursements, you simply pay your reduced rate directly to the dentist when you receive dental care.
Bonus benefits! Many dental plans include – for free – savings on prescription medicines, eye and hearing care, eye glasses/contact lenses and chiropractic services. Select plans include savings on telehealth, wellness services and other healthy lifestyle offerings.
Find out more about the advantages of dental discount plans at DentalPlans.com.