Why can’t I find an emergency dentist for my mother?

My mom is disabled and on Social Security/ disability. Right now, she has no dental coverage what so ever, but I am told she might get some in the future when she gets fully approved for disability. I guess there’s some kind of limbo period where the state plan doesn’t cover it but the federal plan will? I really don’t understand all this. At any rate, I just took over managing her care and she needs a lot of work done. I think it’s going to come down to pulling her teeth and getting dentures, but I’m not totally sure. I have been trying to find an affordable dentist, but nobody seems to be willing to help. They all want thousands of dollars up front. I don’t know if it’s these offices or the healthcare system, but she needs help. Any ideas on how I can find an affordable dentist?



Dear Jessica,

Kudos to you for stepping up to the plate and helping your mom out. The programs are so confusing, you practically need a PhD to understand what covers what and what’s actually available.

Unfortunately, you are correct, in that government programs do not typically see to the dental needs of disabled and elderly adults. Every plan is different, and when you’re still battling it at a state level, each state has different rules, too. There’s a very good chance your mom only has emergency coverage, or coverage for work that needs to be done in the hospital right now, but please contact the company that provides her coverage to be sure.

With disability, there tends to be a 24-month waiting period while you wait for the transition from state to federal coverage, but when the higher coverage kicks in there should be some dental coverage. Again, you must talk to your mom’s case worker, social worker, or plan provider to find out what the process is and what’s available to her. If coverage will increase soon, it may be worth waiting a couple months before you start anything.

If she needs to find an affordable dentist now, you could try asking offices whether they do payment plans or financing. Many of them do. You may also have luck signing up for an inexpensive insurance plan. There are some PPO plans for as little as $35 from reputable companies that provide instant coverage. If you’re getting into an extensive treatment plan, like extractions and dentures, it’s worthwhile to research some of these to reduce your costs. Best of luck to you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Should I get All-on-Four implants to make it more affordable?

I wanted to get dental implants, but they were out of my budget. I got dentures, but they’re horrible ugly. I’ve been reading that all-on-four dental implants are more affordable. Will that be a better option than the dentures?

Marissa M. – San Antonio, TX


I have several thoughts on this.

First, if your dentures are ugly, it’s because of the dentist, not because you got dentures. Well done dentures can be made to look just like natural teeth. In fact, with a great cosmetic dentist, you could end up with a prettier smile than you had when you went in.  If you’re happy with your dentures, other than their appearance, you could just have them re-done by a more artistic dentist.

There are reasons for choosing dental implants over dentures, though I know affording them is an issue. First, is protection of your jawbone. When you remove your teeth, your body begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere. In a few years, you have a shrunken jawbone. Other reasons for implants are comfort, security, and chewing effeciency. Dental implants don’t move around in your mouth the way dentures do.

As far as getting all-on-four, I wouldn’t recommend it. This procedure has a higher than normal failure rate. Plus, if one implant has a problem, the entire unit has to be re-done, which can get expensive.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Keven Peck.

Will insurance cover dental implants?

I’m going to lose three teeth due to a car accident. I’m really devastated about it because they’re in the front. I really want to get dental implants so I can feel confident smiling again, but am worried about the expense. Will insurance cover it?

Laura O. – Texas


Just a few years ago I would have had to tell you ‘No’. Dental implants were considered an experimental treatment and insurance companies flat out refused to cover it. That made it almost unaffordable for most patients.

But, a lot has happened in the last few years. Because more dentists have made the effort to get significant training in the procedure, the success rates have skyrocketed. Now, about half of all insurance companies are willing to cover the procedure.

You’ll want to go to a dentist with the right training AND is willing to work with you to get the most out of your insurance policy. Even if yours is not one that covers the procedure, there are ways your dentist can work with you to make it happen. Be open with your dentist. They’ll help.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.