My son looks like a chipmunk right now because he had two impacted wisdom teeth pulled yesterday. I thank God that he was able to get it done without my having to go into huge debt in order to pay for it. Let's go back four months when I found out that I had reached the maximum 15 months coverage on the COBRA dental coverage from my old job. I scrambled to get private coverage and found something reasonable online with the same provider we had before I retired to care for my mom. However, since this was a new private policy, even though we had been with this provider for 15 years straight, we had to start over as new members, making us ineligible for major services until next year.
My son's wisdom teeth did not want to wait until next year. They were growing in sideways. I was going to have to pay a large amount of money out of pocket. Money that was probably going to have to come from a credit card. I'm trying my best to get out of debt, so I really felt defeated when I thought about having to go deeper into the hole I was in already. Then I remembered that my kids are eligible for Medicaid (called MediCal here in California. I searched their dental care benefits (which used to be very little) in order to see if I could get any assistance on this bill. It turned out that Medicaid does pay for dental extractions and would pay for my son's wisdom teeth to be pulled; however, they would not pay for the top teeth. They don't think that extracting top wisdom teeth is a necessary procedure. I asked the oral surgeon about this, and he agreed that the top teeth could wait for a while. I just hope that they can last until my private insurance benefits kicks in next year.
If your income is currently low, and your child is in need of dental services, I encourage you to call your local Medicaid office to see if your child is eligible for assistance. When I was a teacher, I saw too many kids suffering unnecessarily with tooth pain because their parents could not pay for their care. While trying to get help for my son, I saw that in some cases, children can even get help with orthodenture, something that previously has been out of reach for most low income families.