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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Roomate has let himself get into an emergency situation with an absessed tooth. Went to a dentist today who knew he had no insurance. They did an exam and x-rays but said they wouldn't do any work without payment up front. Dentist wouldn't even give him a prescription for antibiotics even though he told roomate his entire mouth was infected. He works hard every day and pays his bills but doesn't have a lot in savings and no insurance.

He called the emergency rooms at two local hospitals who also said they wouldn't take him without insurance, although one is the county charity hospital.

What do poor working people do? Any suggestions?
 

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I have no medical or dental. Most things just wait till I can afford to pay, but the two abscesses I had were pulled at $1000.00 each (ouch) paid 50% up front and the rest on payments. This was after a week of antibiotic therapy to clear up the infection because the dentist said he couldn't pull teeth so infected. Call around to find a dentist that will work with you. There must be one out there somewhere.
 

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If I didn't have dental insurance I would include a dental allowance in my monthly budget. That way I'd have the money saved up when I needed it.
 

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$1000 to pull a tooth is outrageous. I live in an expensive area and it's only $300 to $500 here depending on complexity (including office visit and x-ray)...unless of course it takes a surgeon and surgery to remove it. But the emergency room cannot turn away someone without insurance. If it's an emergency, and a bad abcess is...they have to see you and at least prescribe an antibiotic. If the dentist refused to prescribe an antibiotic for a known infection, they should have their license pulled. I can't believe they would even do that, regardless of whether or not they are going to pull a tooth or do any other restorative treatment. It sounds like there is more to this story than your friend is telling you.
 

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Here in Louisiana, the only hope for dentistry is the charity hospital. And most dental insurance plans here must be in effect for 6 months before one uses it. And the co-pays are outrageous. (from someone who pays cash...ldc)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've been telling him to take better care of his teeth for some time now. You can't force some people to be smart.

But he did recently start a new job and his benefits haven't kicked in yet. That's also why he doesn't have a lot in his savings account. Trying to catch up from being off work for a while.

I thought it odd about the "no prescription" thing as well. He said it's all written down on the paper he brought home. Most dentists I know would do the antibiotic to try and gain an upper hand BEFORE removing the tooth. And it would be oral surgery - it's that bad. He was quoted $585 on top of what he will be billed for the visit today.

I think if he showed up at the county hospital ER, they would eventually treat him. My concern is that this could turn into a systemic infection or cause a heart issue.
 

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In Oregon, you can go to Whitebird Clinic, which treats people on a sliding fee scale and even does dental work for free for those who can't afford to pay anything. Not sure where to go in Texas, but there MUST be somewhere :shrug: What about calling around to any local homeless shelter and asking the staff where they send homeless folks who have dental problems? Perhaps he can ask his employer for a loan? He'll be next to useless as an employee if he comes down with sepsis!
 

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We just suck it up and pay! If something else has to wait, it has to wait.

DH has had a few bad teeth. It got to where he was up all night practically crying in pain. I had enough of watching it. Found a dentist the next day that could get him in for an emergency appointment. They said it could cost anywhere from $160 to $300 depending on what the dentist had to do.

Luckily, the tooth didn't break and it only cost $160.

We are in Southwest Louisiana. Lake Charles area.
 

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Piney Woods said:
I think if he showed up at the county hospital ER, they would eventually treat him. My concern is that this could turn into a systemic infection or cause a heart issue.
If he doesn't get to the hospital, it could...and yes they will treat him. They may also try to bill him for it, since he's working, but most hospitals work with people today to reduce bills when necessary. They have special programs to help with that...not the emergency room.

But, I still don't understand the dentist not giving him a prescription...that is not costing them anything, and I think they could be liable for his health if he needed it and they refuse it.

It sounds to me like your friend is just not wanting to spend the money and thinks he can wait it out. But I just had an abscess and needed to be on antibiotics, and they were the $4 Walmart generic. For $4 he'd be a fool to hold out.
 

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Talk about timing; I was at the dentist's this morning to get a 'care plan' done. I'd had the Xrays done a little over a week ago and today was the day to find out what the dentist found.

I've always taken care of my teeth but previous meds both in childhood and as an adult have done some damage. :(

So today I got the news that although I have dental insurance, my portion will be $3800 and that's after the insurance pays their yearly max of $1500. :Bawling:
And here I went in thinking thinking that filling that fell out 9 days ago was all that was wrong and it just needed to be filled. :grump:

Don't get me wrong; I'm thankful to have dental insurance but when something major happens-$1500 max is not nearly enough to cover the procedures. So from now on; I'm going to budget out dental expenses monthly for the next time I get such a surprise. ;)
 

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Piney Woods said:
What do poor working people do? Any suggestions?
They probably do the same thing the pioneers did.

Does your roommate have a visegrips pliers and a bottle of whiskey?
 

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OK, some of you out there aren't going to like this suggestion.

Aunt and Uncle, retired living in Colo. No insurance that paid dental and they needed some expensive work done.

Someone at the senior center suggested Mexico as a dental alternative. They made the appt from the states. Drove down and stayed on this side of the boarder for a few days while the work was done.

A and U said it was just as nice as any dental office here in the states at 60% to 70% less. They went back last year and U got dentures made for a fraction of the cost.

Sad isn't it when your own country is w/o healthcare for those that really need it?
 

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Even cheaper in Panama, according to Chuck. A little harder to get there, though.

Most dental offices I have experience with will work with you on fees. Tell him to call around until he finds one that will take payments.
 

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Yeah, they will work with you Steve...but not by lowering prices (at least not here)...but by extending credit. My dentist is letting me pay off a root canal...but it will take me seven more months to pay it off and until then he won't take on any more dental work, and I already have another tooth that is abscessing. So...if you want to pay for your dental work the rest of your life, and if your teeth will wait till you can afford it, sometimes you can get the work done. Unfortunately, once you get older, your teeth can start to crack and you end up with multiple problems at once.

I was looking for someone to help with my last emergency, and was told by one dentist that if I couldn't afford to pay it off in three months I could apply for a credit program (where you no doubtedly get to pay at least 20% interest on the loan). Sorry...I don't use credit for anything but my mortgage. If I can't afford to pay cash, I certainly can't afford interest.
 

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naturewoman said:
I was looking for someone to help with my last emergency, and was told by one dentist that if I couldn't afford to pay it off in three months I could apply for a credit program (where you no doubtedly get to pay at least 20% interest on the loan). Sorry...I don't use credit for anything but my mortgage. If I can't afford to pay cash, I certainly can't afford interest.
That's the way it appears to be here, Wife made a trip to ER about 18 months ago and I refused the credit program. The 2000.00 plus bill went to collections and a monthly payment schedule was set for exact amount of bill.
I think many dentist work with the same credit program....
 

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I would try calling the local health department and see if they can recommend a dentist. They may know of some free or sliding fee scale services.
 

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Rinsing with peroxide and water may help in the short term.
 
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