No dental insurance and an infected tooth

I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth. I am missing most of the teeth in the rear of my mouth, and now I have an infection that is really painful. It looks like I have a golf ball stuck in my cheek! I am out of work right now, and don’t have any kind of insurance at all. Where can I find someone to help me with this tooth? I asked the doctor at the Free Clinic, but he was not aware of any dental clinics that offer free treatments.

Is there anything I can do to treat this myself?

Thanks for your help.

Darren in Cleveland, OH

Dear Darren,

You’ll need help to get this infection under control. Especially do NOT take oral antibiotics without first treating the source of the infection within the tooth. If you do, you’ll never address the source of the infection and will make the bacteria that remain resistant to antibiotics. You could find yourself with an infection that NO drugs will effectively deal with, and that can be a very serious situation.

A tooth infection can spread to your brain. That is a sobering statement, but we want you to take this situation seriously. Infections in your teeth can also spread to your throat and cause swelling that could interfere with your airway. You have a couple of options here to address this. You can have the tooth extracted. It sounds as if you are missing a lot of teeth, so you may want to start looking into options to regain some functionality. Dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth, but they are expensive and never covered by dental insurance. Dental bridges might work for you, depending on the position of the missing teeth.

Your community may have a clinic where you can go to get the tooth extracted. If they don’t, check at the Free Clinic to see if any of the doctors know any dentists in your area that will help.

The office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone provides this blog as a courtesy.