Approximately 37 million people in the United States do not have dental insurance. Are you one of them? Are you currently dealing with a dental emergency?
This is a difficult situation, for sure. The good news, though, is that you can still see an emergency dentist with no insurance. Read on to find out how to get an appointment without spending a fortune.
Know What Qualifies as a Dental Emergency
Before we dive into how to respond to a dental emergency, let’s first touch on what actually qualifies as a dental emergency.
When should you seek out emergency care? The following are some common issues that require immediate attention:
- A permanent tooth that’s loose, broken, or has been knocked out
- Persistent tooth pain
- Painful swelling of the jaw or gums (this can be a sign of an abscess or infection, especially when it’s combined with pain)
- Incessant bleeding
In these situations, it’s important to act fast. If you don’t address a broken tooth or possible symptoms of an abscess or infection right away, you could end up with serious health problems later.
Look into Low-Cost Options
When dealing with a bonafide dental emergency, don’t just type something like “dentist Boise no insurance” into your favorite search engine and hope for the best.
There are several low-cost (and even free in some cases) options for dental emergencies. Here are some of the most popular approaches:
Dental schools often offer free and low-cost dental services to members of the community. This option gives dental students a chance to practice their skills, and you get to save money at the same time.
Remember, these students are supervised by instructors, so you’ll still get quality care. However, treatment may take a little longer than it would if you were treated by a licensed dentist.
Government Clinics and Free Clinics
Do some research to see if there are any government clinics or free clinics in your area.
Many clinics offer a variety of free dental services, including emergency services. Others operate on a sliding scale, meaning they’ll adjust the price of your treatment based on your income.
Sometimes, local dentist offices host charity events where people can come to get cleanings and other types of treatments, including more intensive ones like root canals or fillings. Consider looking to see if there are any of these events coming up or going on near you.
Don’t forget to ask your dentist if they offer any kind of payment plan.
Dentists understand that not everyone can pay the total cost of care upfront, especially in emergencies. They’re often able to break up your payment over several weeks or months to make it more manageable.
Use Your Health Savings Account
If you have a health savings account (or HSA), which is a tax-free savings account used for healthcare-related expenses, you can use it for many dental emergencies. The following are some of the most common treatments HSAs cover:
- Root canals
Remember, HSAs also cover the costs associated with routine cleanings and check-ups. If you’ve been avoiding these because you don’t have dental insurance, it’s time to start using your HSA to pay for them. Prevention goes a long way when it comes to keeping dental emergencies at bay.
Use a Dental Savings Plan
For those who are not currently dealing with a dental emergency but want to be prepared if one arises, enrolling in a dental savings plan can be a good option.
After you purchase a dental savings plan, you’re able to save money on future dental treatments, including root canals, fillings, and even dentures and braces.
These plans are easy to join and use, and most activate within 24 hours of signing up. They don’t come with any annual spending limits and, in most cases, you don’t have to go through a health screening or background check before you enroll.
Many dentists accept dental savings plans, so it doesn’t hurt to reach out to yours and see what options they offer. If you don’t have a dentist you see regularly, you can also search online to learn about plans for clinics in your area.
If you don’t have dental insurance, you must do whatever you can to prevent expensive (and uncomfortable) dental emergencies. Here are some steps you can start taking today:
Brush Twice Per Day
Brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a high-quality toothbrush and toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association, and make sure you’re brushing your teeth on all sides (that’s right, you’re supposed to scrub the front and back of your teeth!).
Floss Once Per Day
Floss at least once per day, too. Flossing may not be linked to cavity reduction, but studies show it does help to get rid of bacteria that contribute to abscesses, infections, and gum inflammation.
You don’t have to swear off things like sugary snacks and soda to preserve your teeth. However, you should do your best to rinse your mouth well with water after eating or drinking these things. Rinsing with water helps to get rid of residues that cause cavities and feed unhealthy bacteria in your mouth.
Wear a Mouth Guard
If you play sports, wearing a mouthguard can protect you and reduce your risk of dealing with cracked, loosened, or knocked-out teeth.
Make sure you’re wearing one before you step onto the court or field. It might feel a little awkward at first, but it’ll be worth it if it protects you from dental emergencies (as well as the costs associated with them).
See an Emergency Dentist with No Insurance Today
As you can see, it is possible to see an emergency dentist with no insurance. Follow the steps outlined above and you’ll be able to get the dental care you need.
Do you want to learn more about taking care of your dental health? Want to know how to avoid another emergency dentist visit? If so, check out the Healthcare section of our site today.