I am a college student with no dental insurance and no money. I had a tooth I neglected because of finances which had a cavity. Now, I think it is infected. At least that is what my roommate says. I am in a lot of pain. Now, my cheek is swollen. It is almost the size of a golf ball. How do I get this fixed, bearing in mind I am broke?
I am sorry for the pain, as well as the predicament you are in. Being a college student is not easy, even when you don’t have medical or dental expenses to think about. What you do not want to do is to try to treat this with antibiotics alone. While these are helpful in holding the infection at bay for a short time, once your antibiotics are finished, your infection will return, raging. Then, it is possible that the antibiotic will no longer work if the infection develops a resistance to that particular medication.
The only way to truly “heal” a dental infection is to remove the infected pulp. There are two ways to do this. The first is with a root canal treatment. This is the preferred option because it will save the natural tooth. If the infection is too far gone and the tooth cannot be saved, then you would extract the tooth. When that happens you will also need to replace the tooth.
Because you are in a financial bind, I would start by calling your local dental society and see if there are any programs in your area that help low income residents with dental emergencies. This is a dental emergency that you do not want to ignore. The tooth infection will continue to spread. Your jaw is close to both your throat and your brain. You don’t want a brain infection, nor do you want it to reach your throat. if that happens, your windpipe could swell up and then you would not be able to breathe.
If there are not any programs in your area for people in your situation, then I recommend that you just start calling some local dentists and explain your situation. Most dentists are compassionate and went into their profession in order to help people. I feel confident someone will give you the treatment you need and then allow you to pay out the bill a little at a time.