It can be painful and costly when your child has a dental emergency and needs immediate treatment. The best case scenario is that you’ve already been approved for Medicaid and have an excellent pediatric dentist nearby. If you’re in the Las Vegas area, see this list of procedures covered by Medicaid at Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas. Then contact us to get in your emergency appointment.
Qualifying for Medicaid
It’s almost impossible to predict whether or not your child will qualify for Medicaid, but doing so is the first step in finding an emergency Medicaid dentist. Every state has different guidelines and rules. Some states offer Medicaid expansion while others do not. In the states that offer residents an expansion, it may be easier for your child to qualify for Medicaid because there are fewer restrictions in place.
In general, a child can qualify for Medicaid until the age of 19. On average, children who come from a family of four that makes $49,200 or less a year will also qualify. However, that’s just the average, and even that can vary by state. A child who doesn’t meet the requirements for Medicaid may qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, instead.
Wherever you live and whatever your income, it never hurts to try. Submit an application just to see if your child can get CHIP or Medicaid. There are no penalties for folks who don’t qualify. You can also research the requirements for your state to get a better idea about your child’s chances.
Finding an Emergency Dentist
Once you know that your child qualifies for the program, finding an emergency Medicaid dentist isn’t necessarily difficult. Again, however, you have to consider where you live. Depending on the number of qualifying dentists in your area, you may need to travel a bit for emergency dental services that are covered by Medicaid or CHIP. Begin with a quick Google search to find out your options. You may also have access to a list of participating pediatric dentists through the program. You can either log in to search for names or talk to a Medicaid representative for your state.
Determining an Emergency
To book an appointment with an emergency Medicaid dentist, your child has to be experiencing a genuine dental emergency. Otherwise, you’ll likely be asked to wait for an appointment or to wait and visit your child’s regular dentist. In any case, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the conditions and issues that constitute an emergency.
After your child comes to you complaining about a dental problem, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Take a look inside of their mouth to see if there’s any bleeding. A chipped tooth, whether it’s a baby tooth or an adult tooth, qualifies, as does severe pain and the unexpected loss or looseness of a permanent tooth. You may need to feel around in your child’s mouth, particularly if he or she complains about oral pain or a toothache. Swelling is indicative of a problem, too. Observe any lesions or lumps along the gum line. If there’s something caught between your child’s teeth, it could cause swelling.
Some problems are harder to see, making it imperative to ask your child how he or she feels and to pay attention to his or her behavior. You’re likely to spot a tooth that’s broken or chipped, but you may not detect a crack in your kid’s tooth. Abscesses aren’t always visible, either, but you may notice an odor coming from your child’s mouth. An abscess can also present as swollen lymph nodes or a bump that’s full of puss. Older children can experience pain from their wisdom teeth. Pericoronitis, an infection caused by an infected tooth, is another potential problem.
Helping Out Until the Dentist Can See You
Your child may have to wait to see a Medicaid dentist in an emergency. Obviously, your pediatric dentist will see your child as quickly as possible, but an immediate visit isn’t always possible. In extreme cases, such as when an infection is involved, then you may need to visit a nearby urgent care or minute clinic, or your child’s general practitioner. In other situations, you can help with the issue.
If your child loses a permanent tooth, try to put it back in its socket as gently as possible. Doing so can save the tooth. Have your young one bite down on a doubled up a piece of gauze to hold the tooth in its spot. If that doesn’t work, place the tooth in a container filled with warm salt water. Instruct your child to rinse his or her mouth with warm, salted water, as well.
Cold compresses are ideal for toothaches, but you should avoid anything hot. Always apply gentle pressure to stop any bleeding.
Identifying Other Dental Services
In addition to emergency dental services, both CHIP and Medicaid provide access to regular dental check-ups. Sometimes, prevention is the best possible cure. Taking your child to the dentist for a check-up every six months will keep you ahead of the game. It won’t prevent spur-of-the-moment issues such as a knocked out tooth or a sudden infection, but you and your child can stay up-to-date on any cavities, loose baby teeth, and similar problems.
Preparing for an Emergency
Don’t wait for an emergency once you know that your child qualifies for Medicaid or another program. You can always call around to find an emergency dentist before you actually need one. Discover who is taking on new patients, average wait times, office locations, and emergency hours. Your child might be afraid of the dentist, in which case a new dentist in an alarming situation may be even scarier. Ask about scheduling a getting-to-know-you visit to introduce your child and get the lay of the land.
And keep in mind, if you’re ever in the Las Vegas area, Children’s Dentistry can be your emergency Medicaid dentist.