Help – my tooth is killing me, and I have no insurance and no money!
Getting emergency dental work done is difficult when you lack the financial muscle to pay for expensive treatment. But it is possible for some people.
You need immediate treatment when in severe pain. Plus, delays can make your condition far worse.
So you cannot afford to walk down any dead-end streets such as free emergency dentists and dental insurance without waiting periods.
Instead, you want to quickly identify possible avenues that lead to viable solutions: financing programs, medical insurance, and Medicaid.
Emergency Dental Insurance
Most uninsured patients can forget about buying a new dental insurance plan during an emergency because the premium cost is likely to exceed the benefit. This strategy is a dead-end – at least in the short term.
However, two other types of coverage you might already have could help out quite a bit – especially for people without much money to spend.
No Waiting Period
Buying emergency dental insurance with no waiting period is unlikely to solve your immediate money problem. No insurance company is willing to exchange a few small premium payments for an enormous claim.
However, buying a plan could make financial sense if you broaden your time horizon. The in-network discounts associated with PPO plans allow the benefits to exceed the premium cost over extended periods.
Once enrolled, you no longer have to worry about paying for urgent dental care with no money and no insurance.
Health insurance covers medically necessary dental work. Several emergency procedures fall into this category: care arising from non-biting accidents, certain diseases, and treatments considered integral to other services included in the plan.
Urgent oral care that might be medically necessary includes these examples.
- Open reduction of a fractured jaw
- Extraction of broken teeth after an accident
Therefore, patients without dental insurance should always check to see if their medical plan might honor claims. Time-sensitive work frequently connects to accidental injury, which makes it medically necessary.
Medicaid covers emergency dental work for adults in all fifty states. Low-income families often have little money to pay out-of-pocket for oral care. The bonus coverage can make an enormous impact.
Urgent oral care might include the following.
- Procedures necessary to control bleeding, relieve pain or eliminate acute infections
- Services that are required to prevent “pulpal death” and the imminent loss of teeth
- Treatment of injuries to the teeth or supporting structures
Even if you are not currently enrolled in Medicaid, do not rule this option out. The public program often pays bills three months retroactively for newly registered recipients. Apply for the program after receiving care and allow the government to decide if you are eligible.
Emergency Dental Care without Insurance
Patients have limited options to get emergency dental care when they have no insurance and no money to pay the provider. Learning to apply medically necessary rules to tooth extractions and abscesses can save you a bundle of cash – if applicable.
Otherwise, financing is a more viable option than searching for free dentists who will drop everything to provide instant treatment.
Financing for patients with bad credit is the primary way to pay for emergency dental work when you have no insurance or cash on hand and can’t afford the dentist. A toothache can be excruciating and requires treatment right away. Therefore, you need a fast solution.
Borrowing money to pay for urgent care can quickly provide the cash needed to pay the dentist. Complete a single web-based form, and a vast network of lenders will review your profile instantly and compete for the right to present offers.
Be prepared to input all necessary details so that lenders can make a fast decision.
- Social security number
- Driver license number
- Employer name, address, and phone
- Bank account and routing numbers
Emergency Tooth Extraction
Paying for emergency tooth extraction without dental insurance is sometimes possible for patients with no money. However, the reason the dentist needs to pull a tooth can make a huge difference in affordability.
- Urgent extractions after an accident fall into the medically necessary category, meaning your health insurance is likely to cover the procedure. When filing the claim, make sure to describe how the recent injury occurred in detail.
- Urgent extractions due to tooth decay or severe gum disease are not medically necessary, meaning that uninsured patients will have to fund the expense 100% out-of-pocket.
Emergency Tooth Abscess
Funding emergency treatment of a tooth abscess without dental insurance is also possible for patients with no cash in the bank. An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection and requires immediate treatment.
Depending on the severity, your dentist could treat the abscess in several ways.
- Open up (incise) and drain the pus
- Perform a root canal
- Pull the affected tooth
- Prescribe antibiotics
Your medical insurance could pay for all of these abscess treatment alternatives depending on why the bacteria penetrated the tooth enamel and spread to the root.
- Cracks or chips caused by non-biting accidents (where you filed an initial claim with your health insurance) could lead to subsequent honored claims
- Cavities and cracks in fillings fall into the dental category, and patients would have to fund 100% of these expenses out-of-pocket
Free Emergency Dentists
Looking for free emergency dentists is a flawed strategy that is likely to prolong your pain and allow the condition to worsen. Most providers that do pro bono work schedule patients at times convenient to them – rather than turn their world upside down for no compensation.
Lining up financial assistance for dental work takes time. The patient demand for free services exceeds supply by a wide margin. Therefore, people who can wait their turn can sometimes get help paying for oral care.
However, waiting is incompatible with emergencies. You need immediate treatment before a broken incisor turns into an abscess, which turns into an uncontrolled infection that spreads to your jaw or sinuses.
Therefore, you may want to look elsewhere for a solution.