I need to find an affordable dentist for my dad. He is 63 and has a terrible toothache, but he’s also unemployed and on state insurance, which doesn’t provide dental coverage. Obviously, with the unemployment, he can’t really afford to have the tooth fixed, which is terrible. He keeps trying to live with it, thinking he’ll just fix it when he gets back on his feet again, but I’m really worried that it’s infected and that it’s getting worse. How do I find an affordable dentist who will help him?

Thanks,

Jim

Dear Jim,

I love when I see children taking care of their elderly parents. There are a lot of ways you can find an affordable dentist and it sounds like your dad needs to get in as soon as possible. Anytime there’s pain it is a dental emergency. If it’s an infection, it will get worse and spread, so it’s good that you’re looking into options.

The fastest way to get him treatment is to call around and see who offers payment plans. Some offices will provide in-house financing, but a lot of them are offering things like Care Credit, which is financing through a company that only helps people with medical bills.

They usually have a deal where, if you pay off the balance in six months or less, you don’t even have to pay interest on it. If you find an office that does either one of these things, any office can instantly become an affordable dentist and he can get treatment right away.

If he’s in a real bind, have him visit his primary care physician. Although a doctor won’t treat dental needs, he can assess it and determine if he thinks it’s infected. If it is, he’ll be able to prescribe antibiotics, which should be covered under his state medical care. This won’t fix the problem. He’ll still need to see a dentist, but it will buy him a little bit of time to work out which affordable dentist he’s going to see and how he’ll cover the expenses.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Matt Roper.