A dental emergency can strike at any time. Regardless if a tooth cracks or breaks, or some trauma like a fall or accident causes a dental injury, these emergencies often need quick treatment to alleviate the pain and to reduce the chance of further damage. Those who have experienced the discomfort and uncertainty that surrounds a dental emergency can attest that finding an emergency dentist is often filled with its own share of hurdles. Questions about treatments, insurance, and availability of emergency dental practitioners means that patients do not often know where to turn. In this handy guide to emergency dental treatment, we will discuss some of the information you’ll need to know if an unexpected dental problem occurs.
When are Emergency Dentists Available?
If you get regular treatment at a dental practice, you may know how difficult it can be to get an appointment quickly. If you have a serious dental emergency, your regular dentist may not be able to see you today or even this week. Luckily, urgent dental care centers and emergency dentists offer 24/7 care when you need it most.
Typically, an urgent emergency dental care facility may not have evening hours, but if an emergency arises, an emergency dentist is called in to see you. Some facilities operate much like a medical emergency room, with around the clock care available.
What Emergency Dental Care Will I Receive?
The type of care you may receive will differ, depending on the underlying emergency. Dentists that provide emergency services are specially trained to carefully evaluate problems with the teeth and supporting structures. A thorough examination is the first step. This sometimes includes dental x-rays and imaging to spot hidden problems such as cracked or broken teeth.
If the patient is in pain, the emergency dentist will administer pain medication as well as providing after-care instructions to help alleviate any discomfort the patient is feeling.
The next step, of course, is to complete a treatment. Depending on the type and severity of injury, this treatment may require complex, multi-step procedures, or the treatment may be completed at the time of the emergency visit. In other cases, the dentist will stabilize the injury and schedule a follow-up visit during regular business hours to finish up more extensive work.
How Much Does Emergency Dental Care Cost?
Most people expect that emergency dentists and dental practices cost a lot of money. While this can be true in some cases, such dental care is not always as expensive as one thinks. Emergency dentistry is a specialized practice, and because the dentist must work emergency cases into their schedules on short notice, this can often incur costs above typical dental care.
The good news is that most dental insurance covers emergency treatments. If you have insurance, check with your insurance provider to see what types of treatments are covered and what co-pays are expected.
Another option in some locations is low-cost emergency service provided by dental students. These facilities are staffed by those training to become dentists, such as at dental schools in the area. Have no fear that your care will be handled by someone inexperienced; each of these facilities is also supported and supervised by experienced dentists.
Final Words on Emergency Dental Care
When you need it, emergency dental care is available in most locations. These emergency dentists have the training and the flexibility to help patients overcome sudden and unexpected dental emergencies. The above information should help you understand what to expect if you need such treatment.
This guide was written by Thomas E. Cooke, DDS, an emergency dentist practicing in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Cooke and his Raleigh emergency dental clinic have helped thousands of patients since the clinic was first established.