What if I have a dental emergency but no dental insurance?

Here is what I recommend if you don't have dental insurance but find yourself in the middle of a dental emergency.
  • Know that it's important to take care of it now, not later. If you wait, things can get worse, infections can spread, and treatment can become even more costly.
  • Contact a local dental health school, which will often offer treatments at a large discount. Or contact a local free clinic or an emergency room with a dentist on staff.
  • Ask your dentist if he or she offers a payment plan. Many dental offices do this.
  • Look into applying for a health credit card. Some of my patients have them in case of emergencies. The card is something you would need to apply for in advance of the emergency.
No matter what, know that you deserve the best care possible. Don't go telling yourself stories that you aren't young enough/rich enough/fill in the blank. You may have to pay out of pocket to get it, but don't let not having dental insurance get into your head.

Know that you are worth the best health care possible.
Dental emergencies, as any health emergency, require attention to resolve the situation.

Even if you have dental coverage, it does not mean that all of the cost of treatment, emergency or not, is covered. There are deductibles, copays and benefit limitations, along with annual maximums.

If finances are a problem, contact a free clinic, government health clinic, emergency room-preferably in facility with dentists on staff or call, dental school clinics or local dental society for care suggestions.
If you don’t have dental insurance, you should still contact your dentist in the event of a dental emergency. Many dental emergencies can lead to much more serious health complications if they are left untreated. Your dentist may also be able to offer a payment plan, so you can spread out the cost of your treatment over the course of several months. Ignoring a dental emergency now could end up costing even more money later. Broken or injured teeth can lead to infection, and in rare circumstances, your condition could even become life threatening.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.