Navigating the System

Empower yourself as a patient, and learn how to get the most out of your benefits. Each plan is different, so this section of our guide will help you understand what it is that you should look for when you receive your insurance information.  This section will help you navigate the health care system when you need care.

Topic Area: Urgent or Emergency Care

If I have a dental emergency but do not have dental insurance, can I go to the ER?

Yes. If you need emergency dental care and go to the Emergency Room (ER), the ER will treat you and then bill your health insurance. The ER is not likely to be able to treat a dental problem unless it is a health emergency. They may use temporary measures to relieve pain until you are able to see a dentist. Your coverage will depend on your health plan. You can either check your plan documents or website or call your insurance customer service to verify coverage.

Planning ahead

The best plan is to find a dentist for routine dental care to prevent dental problems and avoid costly ER care. Many dental practices have a plan for after-hours emergencies for their patients.

Dental insurance plans are available to help offset the costs of routine preventive and diagnostic care, including check-ups and cleanings, fillings, root canals, crowns, bridges, and other procedures. Many insurance companies in New Hampshire offer dental plans.

If you are looking for an individual plan, you can go to to enroll in a plan or directly go to the insurance plan website.


If you need dental insurance, but have limited income, the following resources may be helpful:

NHID Health Costs Guide dental plan cost comparisons

NH Dental Society – low cost dental care options

Tooth Wisdom – affordable dental care for older adults

Children’s Medicaid programs – affordable programs for children

Dartmouth-Hitchcock dental assistance resources – list of dental resources – low cost, sliding scale dental clinics

Families First – mobile dental clinics for homeless or low income

Help Paying the Bills –low or no cost dental programs – New Hampshire list of available services;;0;;;0;0;Dental%20Care;TopServices;All – free, sliding scale and Medicaid dental clinics


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