It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also a tough time for your teeth.
Chances are you overindulge a bit with the sugary treats over the holidays, aggravating a cavity you didn’t know you had. Or perhaps you discover dental threats like dried fruit and crunchy nuts hiding in a dessert when you bite down … ouch! Or maybe you somehow chomped down on the turkey’s wishbone – it’s hard to do but stranger things have happened.
Whatever the cause, you suddenly need emergency dental care right now. But maybe money is tight this time of year, and you don’t have dental insurance, or you already maxed out your insurance plan for the year. What to do?
Unfortunately, many dental emergencies won’t wait for your finances to improve. Any sign of infection – fever, pain, swelling – and you need to see the dentist or get medical help from urgent care or even an emergency room as quickly as possible.
Teeth that have been knocked loose or out have the best chance of surviving if you see a dentist ASAP. Loosened teeth can often be stabilized by splinting, root canal treatment may be needed. Broken or chipped 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.
Remember, the longer you wait, the more complicated the problem can become – and the cost of treatment can go up. So how can you lower the cost of emergency dental care?
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 (affordable alternative to traditional dental insurance) can be a great 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. With Dental Savings Plans:
You don’t have to wait. Many plans activate within 24-hours of purchase. And there are no waiting periods before you can use your card to save on dental care.
No annual spending limits. You can use your plan to save as often as you need.
Accepted at 140,000+ 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 – you can see any dentist who accepts your plan.
Bonus perk! Many dental savings plans include – at no additional cost – savings on prescription drugs, eye and hearing care, eyeglasses/contact lenses and chiropractic services. Select plans include savings on telehealth, wellness services and other healthy lifestyle offerings, as well.
A dental emergency can be scary enough; worrying about how you will pay for treatment when you have no insurance only compounds the anxiety. Find out more about the advantages of dental savings plans now.