Access To and Affording Emergency Dental Care

It may not always be obvious, but a person’s smile can say a lot about them. Think about yourself for a minute and how you feel when you smile. When you smile, it makes you feel good. IT makes you feel confident, it gives you a better attitude, and it might even make you feel more attractive if you go out on a date.

But many Americans are unhappy with the smiles and many folks suffer from anxiety because of the condition of their mouth and teeth.

Thankfully, cosmetic dentistry or finding emergency dental care in your area can help restore your smile. Even more than that, having good dental insurance can help you with any kind of dental treatment you need, whether it’s a standard exam and cleaning or more serious emergency care.

Why You Need Dental Insurance

The first thing you’re probably wondering is whether or not you need dental insurance. The simple answer is a resounding yes if you need dental care. Medical insurance doesn’t cover dental service and you never know when a dental issue might crop up, either from an accident, an illness or not taking care of your teeth.

With dental coverage, not only do you have access to emergency dental care in your area, but you can save money on dental care and you can ensure that your oral health is good.

Why do you need dental insurance? Here are four good reasons why:

  • Preventative maintenance: By visiting dentists on a regular basis, you can get exams and cleanings that can help identify problems before they arise. Dental issues such as tooth decay can cause a lot of damage if gone unnoticed and you might end up needing a root canal down the road. Dental insurance covers most preventative visits at very little cost.
  • Financial protection: Preventative care is important, but a dental issue can still arise. These days you probably carry insurance for your home and your car among other things, so adding dental insurance to your list is a good idea.
  • Set fees: Depending on which network you have insurance through, dentists in many networks have contracts to provide different dental services at set costs. So your out-of-pocket costs will be significantly less with a good dental plan.
  • It’s good for your general health: You may not know, but problems with your oral health can affect your health in the rest of your body. For example, if you have a bacteria buildup in your mouth and it gets into your bloodstream, it can make conditions like diabetes worse.

Where To Get Dental Insurance

As you can see there are plenty of benefits to having good dental care, especially if you find yourself in need of emergency dental care in your area. But if you don’t have dental insurance through your employer, you might be wondering where you go to get it. There’s no doubt that any dental plan costs money, but the benefits are numerous.

If you have regular medical insurance, you may not visit a doctor’s office every day, but you have it in the event that you or a member of your family gets sick and needs medication or needs to visit a doctor for immediate care. If you have vision insurance, you have it to help cover the cost of eye exams and glasses or contacts so you can see clearly. Dental insurance works the same way. You only visit a dentist every six months or so, but in the event you have an immediate issue, you can walk into a dentist’s office and get the care you need right away.

Believe it or not, affordable dental care options are all around you, you just have to know where to look and it may be even closer or easier than you think. Try these seven options to get the care you need:

Government Programs

In most cases, private health insurance doesn’t cover dental services, but there are some government programs that can help you out. If you need emergency dental care in your area, for example, Medicaid is one option to cover it. In many cases, Medicaid provides for a comprehensive exam and a cleaning annually, but it may also cover deep cleanings, dentures, and root canals depending on where you live.

Another benefit of Medicaid is that it’s a great option for those looking for dentists for kids. This is because Medicaid programs nationwide provide dental coverage for children.

For seniors, the Medicare Advantage program offers plans from private insurance companies that provide many options for oral care. In some places around the United States, these plans can be found for as little as $25 per month, though it’s important to keep in mind that these plans are dependent on a plan’s specific benefits as well as geography.

Membership Plans

Another affordable option for dental treatment is getting on a membership plan with a local dentist office as some of them offer discounts. In this way, patients get care at affordable costs and dentists are able to make money.

As previously mentioned, dentists in many networks set their own pricing for different dental services, but plans offered by a dentists office can cost as little as $25 per month. If you’re looking for a family plan, there’s a good chance you can get even more discounts. Many plans offered two cleanings per year and discounts of at least 20% for additional services.

Nonprofit Programs

Another source of affordable dental care, especially if you’re searching for emergency dental care in your area, is to look to community service organizations. Many of them, as well as national nonprofit organizations, can connect individuals and families in need of dental care with dentists, orthodontists, and other dental specialists who donate their services.

Local Dental Schools

Much like urgent care treatment is an affordable option when you’re dealing with a cold or a fever, visiting a clinic associated with a local dental school is a great way to get affordable dental care.

These clinics benefit two different groups of people. First, the clinics offer up-and-coming dental students a chance to gain hands-on experience as they work their way through school. Secondly, customers like you can get needed care and services at a reduced price.

At some dental clinics associated with dental schools, free x-rays and exams are offered on free admitting days and cleanings cost as little as $25. If you’re seeking emergency dental care in your area, some clinics tied to dental schools can offer emergency visits for $40 or less and some treatment services will cost between $100 and $125, depending on the care you need.

Discount Cards

In many areas of life, many businesses offer discount cards, whether you’re talking about local restaurants, local salons, or even tickets to local sporting events. Believe it or not, there are also discount cards available for dental care.

If you’re wondering how discount dental cards work, it’s pretty simple: Patients are charged a monthly or yearly fee for access to reduced rates from dentists’ offices in that particular network.

Costs vary with different discount cards, but some of them charge under $20 and patients get access to reduced costs for x-rays and cleanings among other services. Other networks may offer plans for as little as $10 per month and additional savings depending on what sort of care you may need. The best thing to do is shop around and see which plans might work the best for your budget.


Health care has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, especially as it relates to telemedicine. Through telemedicine, patients can meet with doctors remotely and privately to discuss issues and concerns they have.

Dentistry offers the same telemedicine opportunities. With any kind of health issues, dental or otherwise, people usually have two main questions: what’s wrong with me, and how do I fix it? With teledentistry, you’re connected to a dental professional who can give you an immediate evaluation. If it’s deemed that you need emergency dental care in your area, a dentist, much like a pain management doctor can recommend places for care and they can also write prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medicine if you need it.

As of now, teledentistry services can’t be accessed directly by patients, but many urgent care clinics and emergency rooms have partnered with firms that offer teledentistry. Depending on the provider, a teledentistry consultation can cost between $50 and $75.

Opting For Dental Tourism

In your quest to find affordable dental insurance and emergency dentistry services, one option may be as simple as looking outside your area. What does that mean? It means looking for affordable and emergency dental care in other places, sometimes in other countries.

Going out of the country for dental care is a practice known as dental tourism and Mexico is one of the most popular spots for Americans to practice dental tourism. The reason for this is because many dental procedures such as getting fitted for dentures, having teeth pulled and dealing with root canals are roughly 10 to 20% of the price found in American clinics. You may find for example that procedures dealing with root canals and crowns cost you only a few hundred dollars to deal with.

The important thing to remember with dental tourism is that you need to do your research first and look into all of your options. Dental regulations can vary by country and you just want to be sure of what you’re getting into before you book an appointment or make a trip.

Look Into Payment Plans

If you don’t have dental insurance, one option you have for emergency dental care in your area is to visit a local dentist and discuss what payment options you may have. If you’re dealing with unbearable tooth pain, you’ve got an infection in your mouth or your son or daughter needs to visit an orthodontist, don’t delay in visiting a dentist.

As previously mentioned, dental care and procedures cost money, but there’s a good chance that a local dentist office can work with you on some kind of payment plan. If you’re on a budget, they can work with you on paying back the cost of services and as long as you can make regular payments on time, you shouldn’t have any problems.

The same principle is applied if you visit an emergency room for a procedure or you have to take your pet to the vet for treatment. Most places will work with you on a payment plan that you can afford since most people don’t have thousands of dollars at the ready to pay for emergency services.

Take Advantage Of Your Insurance

As you’ve read, not only is it important to carry dental insurance, there are many ways you can get it. You can definitely look into dental insurance plans offered by your employer, but there are more than a half dozen other options for affordable dental care.

Whichever way you choose to go, it’s important that once you have access to dental care that you use it. Half of American adults have indicated that they visit the dentist every six months and you should make a habit of that as well. Go in for regular cleanings, which will freshen your mouth and make it feel really clean. Get x-rays taken annually, so you can see what condition your teeth are in and work to prevent any long-term issues. If you do have any immediate concerns, visit a dentist and talk about them. The more proactive you are, the better off you’re going to be.

Whether you need emergency dental care in your area, a simple cleaning or you’re dealing with nagging cavities, take advantage of your dental insurance plan and use it. You might be paying as little as $10 or $20 per month for dental services, but you’re still paying for them, so make good use of the services you have to protect your smile and boost your oral health.

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