My left cheek is swollen with a lump the size of a small egg. I don’t have dental or medical insurance, so I’m wondering if you can tell me what I can do to at least decrease the infection. I have a new job, but it doesn’t offer benefits. Still, I think I can manage to see a dentist in about four weeks after saving from my paychecks. What can I do now to reduce some of the swelling and decrease the infection? I am also concerned because, in the past, I have not been able to get through dental appointments without Halcion sedation, so the cost of that is another concern. I’m trying not to get hyper-anxious, but I appreciate your suggestions. Thanks. Lydia from Knoxville, TN
Having an infected tooth is a painful and uncomfortable experience. A tooth infection may cause swelling and tenderness in your gums. Sometimes, it can also lead to a fever or other systemic symptoms.
Why Is It Important to Treat an Infected Tooth?
Leaving an infected tooth untreated allows the infection to spread to the surrounding tissues, bones, and even the bloodstream. According to a dental emergencies article published in the National Libraries of Medicine, untreated tooth infections can cause facial and neck pain and eventually spread to the brain.
What If You Have No Money or Insurance to Get an Infected Tooth Treated?
If you have an infected tooth and no money, a few things you can do include:
- Contact your local dental society or health department. They may be able to refer you to a dentist who offers free or low-cost dental care.
- Look for dental schools at local universities or dental clinics that offer reduced rates. You may need a referral from your primary care doctor or a dentist.
- Explain your dental anxiety and that you would like some form of sedation to help you relax during treatment.
- Contact local dental offices to ask about payment plans for care.
What Should You Not Do If You Have an Infected Tooth?
Do not try to treat the infection yourself with over-the-counter pain relievers or antibiotics. These medications will not eliminate the infection and may worsen it. Also, do not ignore the infection, hoping it will go away. Untreated infections can lead to serious health problems.
If you have an infected tooth, seek treatment for root canal therapy as soon as possible. Resources are available to help you get the care you need, even if you don’t have money. Don’t delay treatment because your discomfort can worsen, and the infection can become life-threatening.
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