The left side of my face has been swollen for over a month. I have three cavities in my teeth on that side of my mouth. While eating something chewier than usual two days ago, I felt the discomfort increase in my teeth, and today it hurts. Unfortunately, I’ve been job searching for the past eight months and don’t have dental insurance. I’ve had several promising interviews, and I should hear back in a few weeks. I am still looking for work, but my unemployment income is not enough to pay my rent and utility bills and find a dentist. I’m unable to get credit because I don’t have a job. Can I do anything at home to manage the infection until I see a dentist? Thanks. Rachida
Ignoring a toothache and facial swelling caused by a dental infection is risky. Studies show that five to ten people lose their lives to dental infections yearly. Dead pulp tissue inside a tooth is usually the source of a tooth infection. Although antibiotics may seem like a quick fix, they only treat the symptoms, not the source. Antibiotics can’t reach inside a tooth, so taking them can lead to resistant bacteria and a potentially life-threatening infection.
Even small communities often offer free dental care if you don’t have dental insurance. Search the Internet for a dental clinic, a non-profit healthcare center, or a university dental school within driving distance.
Dentists often go above and beyond to help. Many dedicate time to charity clinics, especially in areas with limited access to care. In larger cities with dental schools, the students need volunteers for dental cleanings, exams, or extractions. While more complex procedures like root canals might not be available at every location, these clinics can offer temporary or permanent fillings, extractions, and other crucial treatments.
Getting treatment quickly can prevent the tooth infection from affecting your overall health, losing the tooth, and needing a dental implant or bridge.
San Antonio dentists Dr. Gilberto Tostado and Dr. Karina Acuña sponsor this post. If you don’t have dental insurance, call to ask about financing or payment plans.