Treat your tooth pain—even on a budget.

When tooth pain is left untreated, it’s not simply a matter of enduring the pain; the issue that’s causing your pain is likely getting steadily worse. Over time, your pain will worsen, and your risk of developing more serious dental or overall health issues will increase. It’s not always easy to determine whether or not you’re experiencing a dental emergency, and while it can be intimidating to call your dentist when your pain is telling you something is definitely wrong—especially if you’re on a budget—getting prompt treatment is vital to easing your pain and ensuring your health doesn’t suffer in the long run.

If you’re on the fence about visiting Dr. Monroe for your toothache, we’ve included a guide on why getting treatment is important, how you can afford it even on a tight budget, and the best way to prevent the issue from repeating itself.

1. Getting prompt treatment is vital for your health and your budget.

Large cavities can worsen until you need a tooth extraction; abscesses can cause you to develop a serious fever or life-threatening infections; and periodontitis can worsen diabetes, as well as increase your long-term risks of stroke and heart disease. As a result, not only will you be left enduring steadily worsening pain, but the cost of your treatment will also increase—especially if you wait until you have a dental emergency on your hands. Since smaller dental issues are typically easier and less expensive to treat, you’ll actually save money by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Monroe for treatment as soon as you detect a potential issue.

2. Find ways to make even advanced treatments affordable.

While it’s easy to assume that dental treatments will destroy your budget, even advanced treatments can be very affordable if you’re willing to explore the different payment options available to you. Dental insurance often covers a large portion of necessary treatments, though exactly how much they cover will depend upon your insurance company and specific plan.

If your dental office has membership plans, you can also join these to gain significant discounts on treatments. Additionally, many dental offices support CareCredit, a credit card that’s specifically designed to help patients pay for medical treatments. CareCredit allows you to put the portion of your treatment not covered by your insurance or membership plan on a payment plan, often with little to no interest. This allows you to pay for it in budget-friendly, bite-sized chunks instead of footing a big bill all at once.

3. Know the difference between an emergency and a non-emergency.

The line between what tooth pain qualifies as a dental emergency and what tooth pain doesn’t is sometimes difficult to discern, but a good rule of thumb is that you need emergency dental treatment any time your pain is severe. If you can’t distract yourself from the pain or it’s keeping you awake, it’s likely best to call our office immediately. Additionally, if you’re experiencing a fever or swelling, you should also call Dr. Monroe to schedule an emergency appointment. Even if your tooth pain is minor or infrequent, you should still call Dr. Monroe as soon as the dental office opens so you can schedule an evaluation at the next availability; this prevents the issue from worsening into a more expensive, painful dental issue.

4. Relieve your tooth pain while you wait for an appointment.

If your tooth pain isn’t an emergency, you may need to find tooth pain relief while you wait for your evaluation. Aside from over-the-counter pain medications, you can use a wide range of simple tooth pain remedies to ease your discomfort. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can numb the pain and reduce inflammation, but don’t overdo it; keeping an ice pack on for too long can cause issues of its own. Instead, only apply the ice pack for about 15 minutes before taking it off for at least 30 minutes.

Additionally, clove oil is a simple tooth pain remedy you can administer at home that has been used to treat tooth pain effectively for centuries because it contains a natural anesthetic. Simply apply a dab of clove oil to the painful area using a Q-tip or cotton ball. The oil takes about five or 10 minutes to kick in, can be reapplied every two or three hours, and does a great job of numbing the pain and reducing inflammation. These methods will work against many different causes of tooth pain, from tooth nerve pain to wisdom tooth pain, making them good go-to methods when you haven’t been able to see Dr. Monroe yet to determine the cause of your pain.

5. Prevent toothaches by prioritizing dental care for your whole family.

The best way to save yourself from experiencing future tooth pain is to prioritize your entire family’s dental care—not just yours or your kids’. This is because the bacteria that cause cavities can be spread from person to person by sharing food, drinks, or kissing, so one family member with untreated cavities can increase the likelihood that the rest will suffer from cavities as well. As a result, you should ensure your whole family brushes their teeth for two minutes at least twice a day, flosses and uses mouthwash at least once a day, and visits the dentist for a preventive appointment every six months. While this may sound like a lot, caring for your oral health with these regular appointments is much less expensive than not caring for it and discovering major dental issues down the line. In fact, preventive appointments are often free if you have dental insurance or a membership plan.

Suffering from a toothache can be stressful, as well as painful, and while it might be tempting to avoid visiting the dentist for as long as possible, it’s better to schedule an appointment right away. Doing so doesn’t just save you a good deal of pain; it also saves you the time and money of undergoing more advanced treatments. Once your treatment is complete, you’ll have a newfound confidence in your oral health and can take steps to prevent future issues, protecting your oral health for years to come.