Man in Need of Emergency Dentistry

ORAL HEALTH & DENTISTRY

Emergency Dentist Payment Plan

Written By : Generations of Smiles Writers

Reviewed By : Charles Rodgers, DDS

Published: Nov 06, 2023

Updated: Nov 06, 2023

Even if you always receive a good report from the dentist about your oral health, there are times when you may still find yourself in an unexpected dental emergency. An impacted wisdom tooth that gets infected or a chipped tooth after a fall can leave you in pain and worrying about possible damage.   

After the emergency dental procedure is over, you could be hit with another blow in the form of your dental bill. Emergency services are expensive, and it can be stressful when you don’t know how you will be able to pay for it. 
Planning ahead for emergency dental care before you are in a dire situation will ensure that you have the funds available when you need them most. Creating an emergency fund or signing up for financing options eliminates the financial stress when faced with the need for immediate dental care, allowing you to focus your attention on repairing or restoring your oral health.

The Significance of Financial Preparedness

Needing a dental procedure and not having the money to pay for it puts your oral health at a disadvantage. You may be reluctant to have a potential dental problem looked at by a dentist. Dental issues usually get worse with time, not better. By putting off a dental problem, you may end up having to pay for a more expensive procedure. 

Around 93% of dental emergencies result from either teeth loss, pulp disease, or tooth decay. Because you do not know what type of dental emergency you may have at any point in time, it is helpful to have a general understanding of what common dental procedures cost. Some dental procedures that may be needed during or after a dental emergency include:

If you have an infection in your mouth, this must be treated before a dental procedure can be performed. Another added cost to a dental emergency could be the expense of an antibiotic. 

Building an Emergency Fund for Dental Care

Even with dental insurance, if you haven’t paid all of your deductibles, you may still be paying a large lump sum after an emergency dental procedure. Socking some money away so you will have it ready to cover out-of-pocket dental costs will prevent you from scrambling to find funds for your dental expenses. 

After looking at the cost of common dental procedures, having a dental emergency fund of $500-$1000 per family member will ensure that you are ready for any unexpected out-of-pocket cost. 

After you know what your goal amount is for your family, tips to build up your emergency fund include:
  • Decide how much money you can save each month from your paycheck and treat it like any other mandatory bill
  • If you get a tax return, use it as emergency dental funding
  • Make your emergency fund first priority before saving for other wants
  • If you need to spend part of your emergency fund on unexpected dental costs, begin putting your allotted savings from your paycheck into your emergency fund until it is back at your amount goal
  • Analyze your monthly costs and identify places where you can reduce your spending, such as:
    • Eating out
    • Groceries
    • Online spending
    • Number of streaming services
    • Gas for non-work-related trips
    • Entertainment

Tightening up these areas even by $20-$50 a month will add up, so you can save that money for a dental emergency. Knowing where your money is going each month and creating a realistic budget is an excellent way to find money in your paycheck to put toward your emergency fund. 

Man paying with a credit card

Dental Credit Cards: A Financial Tool

While having an emergency fund tucked away when you need to pay for dental costs is extremely important, other financing tools help pay for dental expenses. One way to guarantee you can pay for a dental procedure when needed is by getting a dental credit card

Most dental credit cards can only be used for dental expenses. After you receive your dental work, you can simply swipe your card and be on your way. A few positives of having a dental credit card include:
  • The convenience of knowing you can pay for same-day dental care or emergency treatment without waiting
  • Special promotions
  • Payment options
  • You can use it with your dental insurance or on its own
Of course, it is important to be aware of the cons of using a dental credit card, which are:
  • Accruing interest if you do not pay your credit card bill monthly
  • Potential fees for late payments
  • The temptation to use a credit card for cosmetic dental expenses you cannot afford
You can avoid any risks of using a dental credit card by carefully reading over the terms of the agreement before using your card. As long as you understand when your payments are due and have budgeted to make sure you can afford your monthly payments, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of having a dental credit card.
Man putting a coin into an emergency fund jar

Case Study: Real-Life Financial Preparedness

Taking the time to learn how to deal with the financial side of a dental emergency is well worth it. Paying for the cost of dental expenses is difficult, especially when the need for dental care comes out of nowhere. Real life stories of patients using their emergency funds or dental credit cards in a pinch are great examples of how you can also be ready for whatever dental emergency comes your way. 

Being Prepared Paid Off

Stay-at-home mother, Adrienne Brown, found herself in need of emergency dental treatment when an impacted wisdom tooth became inflamed and pulsed with pain. Her dentist quickly identified that an infection surrounded the tooth, which was partially erupted. There was also tooth decay present in the tooth. Because of the way the tooth was growing, the dentist referred Brown to an oral surgeon to have the tooth extracted. Her dentist also strongly suggested that her last two remaining wisdom teeth be removed as well because they were poised to have potential trouble in the future. 

While the oral surgeon's bill came to just over $1,000, Brown had built up a $3,000 emergency fund for just such an occasion and easily paid the bill. By putting away $200 in savings each month, Brown was able to restore her dental emergency fund so she could be prepared for the next dental emergency. 

Find a Dentist in Your Community

If you are searching for a dentist in your community, Smile Generation will connect you with the right dentist who can help you find the financing options you need so you can afford dental care. If you are ever in a dental emergency, contact your dentist right away.

 

Find your trusted, local dentist today!

 
 

Sources

  • "Dental Fees: Results from the 2020 Survey of Dental Fees." ADA, 2020  https://ebusiness.ada.org/Assets/docs/85994.pdf
  • Owens, Pamela L., Richard J. Manski, and Audrey J. Weiss, "Statistical Brief #280: Emergency Department Visits Involving Dental Conditions, 2018." " NIH, 19 Aug. 2021,  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK574495/

Smile Generation blog articles are reviewed by a licensed dental professional before publishing. However, we present this information for educational purposes only with the intent to promote readers’ understanding of oral health and oral healthcare treatment options and technology. We do not intend for our blog content to substitute for professional dental care and clinical advice, diagnosis, or treatment planning provided by a licensed dental professional. Smile Generation always recommends seeking the advice of a dentist, physician, or other licensed healthcare professional for a dental or medical condition or treatment. 

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