Dental emergencies are serious health crises. They should not be dismissed as insignificant. Immediate treatment is essential. But how do you know when you need to see a dentist immediately? And how can you find help in paying the bill?
When Should You Seek Immediate Dental Care?
If you listen to your body, it will usually tell you when a problem is serious. When in doubt, here is a list of symptoms of a true dental emergency:
- Pain when you chew or experience a temperature change
- Swelling of your face
- Severe jaw pain or toothache
- Bleeding from a particular part of your mouth
- Pus in the gum area signifying infection
- Difficulty breathing
- Broken tooth
- Knocked out tooth, which has a chance of being reattached with quick intervention
Get Help from Emergency Dental Care
As you probably know all too well, dental costs are high and, unlike most other medical expenses, patients are required to bear more of the burden. While you can carefully allocate money in your budget for routine dental care, you do not have the luxury of time when an emergency occurs. That’s why it’s wise to plan ahead by getting some form of emergency dental care plan. Here are your best options:
Public assistance. If you are a Medicaid recipient, you may be eligible for dental coverage through this program, which is a partnership between your state and the federal government. Although all enrollees under 21 receive dental coverage, only about half of the states offer it to adults. So check with your case worker to see if you can get Medicaid help with your dental emergency. Your next challenge will be to find an emergency dental practice that accepts Medicaid, as many do not. Medicare, the federal insurance program for senior citizens and some disabled Americans, does not help patients in times of dental emergency.
Traditional dental insurance. If you receive general medical insurance through your employer, you might also be able to get dental coverage through the same plan. Ask someone in your Human Resources department if dental coverage is available. You will probably have to pay for it, but having coverage could save you a lot in the long run.
Indemnity and HMO plans. These traditional forms of coverage are certainly worth looking into. However, they often contain hidden drawbacks including high premiums and deductibles, yearly maximums, complicated paperwork, and required waiting periods before you can have certain procedures done. For a dental emergency, they would only be a realistic option if you were already an active member.
Discount dental plans. For just pennies a day, you can gain access to a network of dentists and specialists if you sign up for one of these plans. Discount dental plans enable you to receive dental care right away, with no waiting periods and no complicated paperwork. Because you have complete access to all prices, you will never be unpleasantly surprised when it comes time to pay the bill.
Now that you know how to identify when you need emergency dental care, don’t wait another minute. Obtain the coverage now that will protect you in the event of a sudden oral health crisis. It’s one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.