I feel like my options are restricted, I need insight...

<p>Hi, I thought about posting this in the parents forum because I feel like an adult's insight would benefit me greatly, but since I'm still in high school I'll post here and hope for the best; any help is much appreciated. I don't know where to start though...so my mother's teeth have been hurting her for awhile, but we've never had the money or the necessary insurance for her to go see the doctor. Well about a week ago she said that she felt as if she got a bone stuck under her gums and it hurt her immensely to chew. Long story short she went to the dentist today and they had to take one or two of her already sparse bottom teeth (these were molars essential to chewing) out. They told her that it would be $3,000 for each tooth were she to get dental implants. We do not have that kind of money, and I don't foresee us having that amount in the near future. My family's situation is kind of hard to explain but my mother's job pays minimum wage and she has to pay off credit card debt so saving will be impossible (even paying the minimum on the card isn't enough when the interest amounts to double what she paid every month). My father is "self-employed", but I don't want to get into that, and he won't be able to pay for it either. I have siblings, both older than me (both live with us-one in college another who is just here), and I can tell you without going into detail that they are both unemployed so their contributions are negligible. Unlike them, I'm still 17 and in high school but I need, not want, to help my mom get those implants so she can eat. What makes it worse is that my parents aren't American and my mother is highly averse to American food(or anything processed) so everything she eats must be cooked by her hands. Her teeth are causing her excruciating pain, she needs to work but I don't think she can, and since she can only ingest liquids I have no idea what she is going to eat when she won't even touch basic foods like yogurt. The main thing is I want to earn money to pay for the dental work but I can't drive and I'm always busy with school, work for AP classes, and extra-curricular activities. I considered dropping out in order to work (please don't be outraged, this was for less than a split second), but my parents would never allow it and honestly I'm a junior so I have one more year until graduation and my leaving school would only exacerbate our problems. I want to know if there is any possible way a 17 year old girl in my situation can earn money(legally, of course) through some kind of job, or paid internship. I live in Houston,TX so I know the job potential is here, but my age and circumstance is a barrier, especially since I have no connections. I'm really not sure what to do, but if any of you are aware of job prospects please give me a heads up. While I am a new member, I've been on this sight since last summer when I started my college search, so I know that there are many helpful people on here who can give good advice, especially parents, so please give me any advice that you can think of for what I should do next. If my age is too much of a deal breaker then just know that my older sibling who goes to college can work and has a car, but hasn't found any jobs yet for lack of knowing anyone so he would also benefit from any of your ideas. Also, any prospects during the summer for me would be even better.</p>

<p>No matter what you say in your comments just know how grateful I am to you for taking the time to read this.</p>

<p>Now, I myself am only 17 too, but my father has had a number of problems with his teeth as he grew up in a very rural part of North Africa and did not receive proper dental care until well into his 40’s so I can understand the extent of the pain that your mother is enduring - my father once broke his foot in three places and he said that it hurt considerably less than the toothaches that he is susceptible to – so first and foremost, I wanted to extend my condolences and sympathy to what your mother is going through. Oral pain is one of the worst things someone can endure. </p>

<p>Is there any temporary solution that you can use for the time being? My father always used clove oil which is a pretty strong natural type oil which more or less numbs the gum entirely - similar to Novocain, and you only need small quantities of it. There is also OTC products like orajel but those are not prescription strength and I do not know if they would be strong enough to take on the extent of your mother’s pain </p>

<p>As for your situation – I remember reading about dental charities that exist in low income neighborhoods - basically organizations of dentists similar to doctors without borders occupy auditoriums and gymnasiums in local schools and spend the day offering free oral surgery and dental work to families who cannot afford it. I do not know how frequent these are - but I do know that they are predominant in the south (and you live in Houston.) Free dental clinics also exist in urban areas where volunteer dentists provide free service and surgery for families who cannot afford it – the wait for these types of places varies from a few days to a few months as they are often overwhelmed with patients, however. In terms of other options - there are dental schools that offer service for lower prices, and while dental students are not as experienced as their professional counterparts, there is a minimum standard of quality that must be met for them to actually provide the service, so if you were interested in calling around to different local dental schools (I imagine Houston, being a very urban area, has a local dental school - or perhaps an extension of UT) – see if they can provide the service your mother needs. </p>

<p>Your mother needs some type of professional care in the near future - toothaches and different types of infections that result from them can be quite deadly and it is imperative that you seek help for her as soon as possible. </p>

<p>I wish you the best of luck and if you need any other sort of help, feel free to contact me. </p>

<p>Thank you so much @preamble1776~ I cried when I saw this(and I rarely cry), because I didn’t think anyone would respond. My parents are actually African, too and both of their dental situations are not the best(my father never understood my need for braces). I’ll definitely look into whether UT has a local dental school and check out their rates, hopefully they are much more affordable than $3,000 a tooth since my mom might need at least 3.</p>

<p>As for her pain, the doctor prescribed her amoxicillin to be taken once a day for about a week, I believe. She also got ibuprofen in tablet form (she also has an aversion to American medicine, especially in liquid form so I had to cajole her into taking Tylenol yesterday). She just took the amoxicillin right now and is laying down, so hopefully that helps. I know what you mean about dental problems, this isn’t the first time my mother or my father has had them and it seems like the pain is unbelievable.</p>

<p>Even before this situation I’ve always felt the need to help my parents in their financial problems, but I’ve seen my age as well as the fact that I don’t drive as a detriment to this. I know I’ll get past it, and hopefully soon because my family needs it. Again, thank you.</p>

<p>I am very glad I was of help to you and your situation. :slight_smile: </p>

<p>UTHealth School of Dentistry is actually located in Houston - and they do in fact offer dental care/patient care for local residents. The website (which I will link at the end of this post) states that UT Dental fees cost about 1/3 the price of typical private practice costs; here is the excerpt:</p>

<p>"We will inform you in advance of all anticipated treatment costs. Fees may vary depending on which teaching program provides your treatment.</p>

<p>Dental student and dental hygiene student clinic fees average about one-third of typical private practice fees. Fees charged for work done in graduate student clinics average about two-thirds of what a patient would pay a dentist in a typical private practice. And fees for UT Dentists (the faculty practice) are consistent with private practice fees.</p>

<p>Fees must be paid when you check in prior to receiving dental services. The exception is for patients of UT Dentists, which does accept many insurance plans. Other School of Dentistry clinics accept cash, checks or major credit cards, except in Assessment or Emergency Clinics, which accept cash or credit card only."</p>

<p>I recommend calling UT beforehand and describing the care your mother needs so that they can give you some sort of estimate – but regardless, it will be considerably cheaper than the 3k advertised by the private practice place you dealt with. </p>

<p>For your driving situation - on my 15th birthday, I went to take the permit test at the local RMV and did not prepare for it at all and ended up passing and it has been such an asset to our family because I am allowed to drive anywhere with an adult present in the car, so should one of my family members need emergency care, I can drive them to the hospital/ER – while it does not have the total independence of a license which would allow you to get a job some miles away, I do recommend acquiring a permit for emergency purposes just so your family has another driving member that can escort them in times of emergency. </p>

<p>Here is the link to Patient Services at UTHealth School of Dentistry
<a href=“http://www.db.uth.tmc.edu/patient-care/fees”>http://www.db.uth.tmc.edu/patient-care/fees</a></p>

<p>Good luck! </p>

<p>I know nothing about any of these, but this is what I found when I googled the question, and it can’t hurt to call, I would think: <a href=“http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/texas_free_dental_clinics.html”>http://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/texas_free_dental_clinics.html</a></p>

<p>@preamble1776 Thank you for the information! I’ve just got down UTHealth’s patient care number from their website.
About the driving situation, at first I thought that I would wait until the summer before I go to college to get my license seeing as we can’t afford a car for me to drive and I can’t use the ones that we do have to practice on. My mother always said I would have to go to driving school because no one would teach me so that’s when I decided there was no point in worrying about it anyway, but you bring up a good point. I think I’ll take the test this summer to get my permit, since it’s only about road signs and what not.</p>

<p>Thank you for the link and for taking the time to look for information for me @collegevetting~ I’ll definitely check it out and try and see it there is any service they offer that my mom can use at low cost.</p>