I’m 22 and need to get 19K worth of restorative dental work done. My insurance only covers $1000. What do I do? : personalfinance

I went to an emergency dental clinic for a toothache and found out that I have many teeth with infections that need to be extracted, bridged, or root-canaled for a total of $19K. Possibly because my family was really poor growing up so when we couldn’t afford my braces anymore, my dad DIY removed them with pliers and the residual glue messed with my enamel.

As you can imagine, I don’t have that much money but am terrified of getting sepsis from everything that’s going on in my mouth. My annual maximum for dental insurance from my work is $1000, so I was able to get the one tooth extracted but otherwise can’t get much else done.

Because I’ve only ever gotten short-term college loans ($2500) at a time, I was rejected for a personal loan. I might be able to get a co-signer but doubt it, as my parents’ business is struggling through COVID and I know their credit isn’t the best. I make enough at my job ($50K/year) that I know I could afford the loan if I could just get it and would be willing to financially sacrifice to get this done, but I just can’t.

I am really, really desperate to get this done. Because I have health-related OCD, it’s all I can think about. I’m in a constant fear of getting really sick or even dying from my tooth problems and don’t know what to do. I know getting them all removed and getting dentures is an option, but I would prefer not to if at all possible because I am young and it’s still possible to save my teeth.

What kind of options do I have to get this done? Would it be worth looking into getting another dental insurance that doesn’t have an annual maximum? My dentist doesn’t do in-house financing, but would it be worth looking around for other dental places that do? Are there other avenues that might be worth exploring?

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