Dental Abscess & Dentists in LA
August 7, 2014 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I developed an abscess after wisdom tooth surgery. The surgery itself was a little over 2 months ago, first noticed swelling and pain from the abscess about 1 month ago. Already tried antibiotics and I know I need to go to a dentist as soon as I can. I can't go to my old dentist because I just moved across the country.

I'm lucky in that I'm starting a new job on Monday and will immediately have medical/dental benefits again but I'm also very broke and might not be able to afford any co-pays until my first paycheck. Which means I could be dealing with this for another two or three weeks. And of course all information online tells me I need to deal with it immediately, death is lurking around the corner.

It's not all that painful, just a little uncomfortable, and the cheek swelling seems to improve with warm compresses. There's also a gross little swollen skin flap thing in the extraction site (I believe the flap is from when my last dentist re-opened the wound in an attempt to fix dry socket) which seems to go more or less away after biting down on a tea bag. I'm also taking OTC ibuprofen. It had noticeably improved a few days of consistently keep up with all that, but I got a little lazy and the swelling has returned.

So, I'm re-starting that routine but is there anything else I could/should be doing to prevent it from getting worse? And any recommendations for a good dentist in Los Angeles? Preferably on the Eastside.
posted by AtoBtoA to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Make an appointment with a dentist who accepts your insurance now so that you have it on the books as soon as your policy number is in your hot little hands.

Ask the dental office to bill you for the copay or open up a Care Credit card and pay with that.

Don't let this delay any longer than next week. Wisdom teeth and dental infections are no joke.

p.s. It's extraordinarily unlikely that you'll get your insurance card actually on Monday even if your insurance is active on that date. Your HR person should be able to print you out a temp card with your policy info and ID number directly from the provider's website. Make sure you ask for that. Advocate for yourself!!
posted by phunniemee at 12:31 PM on August 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

An infection near your brain is nothing to fool around with or let ride for months (!), especially an infection that has proven its ability to survive antibiotics. If you are worried about the cost of getting this taken care of, try nearby dental schools. But I wouldn't think of letting it go another day or two, much less weeks or months.
posted by GoLikeHellMachine at 12:32 PM on August 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

There are a bunch of free and low-cost dental clinics in Los Angeles. You can call St. John’s for a referral at 323-541-1411. USC also has a dental clinic. Here's a great PDF on low cost dentists in LA.
posted by JuliaKM at 12:58 PM on August 7, 2014

This is what credit is for. Care Credit is good, or any other credit card you can open, or anyone who will give you a loan.
posted by bleep at 12:58 PM on August 7, 2014

I've got an appointment with somebody on Tuesday. I thought maybe I could keep it in check until I was a little more on my feet, since it really doesn't feel all that bad, but I guess that's the wrong approach with mouth infections. Thanks!
posted by AtoBtoA at 1:11 PM on August 7, 2014

Look into They offer brokered, reduced-cost dental services with a bunch of opt-in dentists. You can see what various dentists charge for specific services, read reviews, and book your appointment through the site. It worked out to being less expensive than using the typical crappy insurance, and there are no waiting periods/annual limits. Great service.

Here in L.A., I can confidently recommend Dr. Marina Rios. I found her through She is compassionate, non-judgmental, very good, very gentle, punctual. Her staff is very good as well. I hadn't seen a dentist in 10 years, and she worked with me to get my teeth all happy and healthy. I had a bad infection that I was unaware of, and she got that thing dialed in licketysplit without trauma or drama.

I think her office might be on vacation this week, but if you contact brighter and tell them it is a dental emergency, I have a feeling she will get you in ASAP next week.

Note that the cheapest option on brighter won't always be your best option. Dr. Rios is right near the middle, price-wise, which tells you that she values her services appropriately and has enough of a clientele that she doesn't have to go begging. And she's not charging out the ass to support a fancy office in a fancy part of town.

Feel free to Memail me if you want more details.
posted by nacho fries at 1:42 PM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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