I’m in a bind. I’m a college student who grew up in a group home. Once I turned 18 I’ve been pretty much on my own. I went on a date where we went dancing. They had a platform which we were dancing on along with a bunch of other people. Apparently too many people because it collapsed. Outside of a few bruises and realizing my date cared more about his well-being than mine, I thought I was okay. But, this morning my front teeth feel loose. I don’t have a ton of money but I don’t want to lose my teeth. Would an emergency dentist charge the venue? I don’t know if I have enough to cover this. I don’t even know what “this” is.

Corra L.

Dear Corra,

A woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

First, I want to express that I’m sorry you’ve had to grow up in a group home. Hopefully, you have a good group of friends that help you feel you have some back up in this world. It is important that you see an emergency dentist. In the meantime, be sure not to wiggle them. I know it’s tempting, but you risk snapping your ligaments, which will derail your efforts to save the teeth.

I’m going to start by telling what to expect when you see an emergency dentist. They’ll check the tooth along with x-raying it to make sure no damage is done to the pulp. IF the pulp is damaged, you’ll need a root canal treatment and dental crown. Because you’re talking about your front teeth, be sure they only give you all-porcelain crowns (as opposed to the metal-based crowns). They look more natural and you won’t have to worry about a gray line developing at the top of your gumline.

If the pulp is fine, they’ll just need to splint your loose teeth to some stable teeth. It may just be a matter of giving the ligaments time to heal.

Affording an Emergency Dentist

Unfortunately, the dentists will not be able to bill the venue. Dentists can only bill those receiving the service or their guardians. However, save every receipt for every scrap of money this costs you. I’m sure they’ll be a lawsuit of some kind given that people were hurt and you’ll probably get the money back.

Even though the dentist can’t bill someone else, it doesn’t mean you’re trapped and can’t get the help you need. Most dentists went into the field because they wanted to help people. In fact, there are affordable dentists who will be willing to work with you. I believe, you especially, given your unique circumstances, will find dentists compassionate.

Some have in-house payment plans. Others use Care Credit. Either way, you should be able to get the care you need and then pay it out.

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