If you have experienced a recent accident, or if you are experiencing severe oral pain, you may need emergency services. If this is the case, you shouldn’t wait until your general dentist is able to see you for a regularly scheduled appointment. Instead, you’ll want to seek out an emergency dentist.
What Is Emergency Dentistry?
Emergency dentistry is the field of dentistry that involves services that need to be handled within a very short time frame. Generally, emergency dentists will try to see their patients within a 24 hour period of when they receive the call. This timeframe may mean the difference between saving a tooth or teeth, or losing them.
When Should I See an Emergency Dentist?
Emergency dentists can help to both alleviate severe oral pain, as well as handle broken, chipped, cracked, loose or otherwise damaged teeth. If a patient is able to see an emergency dentist soon after an injury, they can often have the tooth repaired. If it cannot be repaired, the emergency dentist can extract the tooth. An emergency dentist will also look for the source of any severe pain, and will help to not only diagnose the issue, but lower or eliminate the pain that the patient is experiencing.
Does Emergency Dentistry Cost More?
You should be prepared for the fact that emergency dentistry services will likely cost more than regularly scheduled services. Because of this, you’ll want to consider the extent of the damage, and whether or not you can wait for a regularly scheduled appointment. By contacting your general dentist or an emergency dentist, you can discuss the issue and whether or not emergency dentistry is required to resolve the pain or damage. If the office of your general dentist is closed, you’ll want to contact an emergency practice with your questions.
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What Procedures Are Considered Emergencies?
Emergency dentists perform a variety of different services, depending on the needs of the particular patient. Below are some services that emergency dentists perform often:
A common reason that patients visit emergency dentists is due to severe pain. They may know the source of the pain, or they may simply be experiencing pain for an unknown reason. An emergency dentist will do an oral examination and (if necessary) take x-rays to determine the
source of the pain. If they are able to handle the issue during that visit, they will. If not, they will at least provide pain treatment options that will help alleviate the patient’s suffering until they can resolve the root problem of the issue.
The last thing any dentist wants to do is extract a tooth. Dentists will often do whatever they can to repair a tooth before they pull it (unless the tooth is redundant). Still, sometimes a tooth is too damaged or loose to save. When this is the case, an extraction is necessary. An emergency dentist is able to extract a tooth when it is no longer viable, and when it is causing harm to the surrounding teeth or the patient’s oral health. A damaged tooth can also be extremely painful, and extraction can help to alleviate the pain. From there, a patient can speak with a cosmetic dentist about replacement options.
Dental Crown Placement
Often, patients will visit an emergency dentist with a severe injury to their tooth. If this is the case, dental bonding or even a dental veneer may not be enough to resolve the issue. If a tooth is very cracked or broken, a dentist may decide to place a dental crown. This procedure will help to alleviate the pain, and restore the integrity of the tooth—allowing the patient to bite and chew. If a temporary crown is placed, a permanent crown can be placed at a later time.
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Finding an Emergency Dentist
People often don’t consider what to do in case of a dental emergency. Because dental emergencies are generally rare, they can catch someone off guard. If you are experiencing a dental emergency, or if you simply would like to prepare for a dental emergency in the future, consider these different options for finding an excellent emergency dentist in your area:
Speak with Your General Dentist
If their office is open, the first person you will want to contact during a dental emergency is your general dentist. They can help to walk you through whether or not you are experiencing a true emergency, and how to best handle the issue until you can visit a dentist. Your general dentist also may have an opening that day or the next. Patients sometimes cancel, leaving an availability that the dentist would like to fill.
If your general dentist is unable to see you on short notice, ask if they can refer you to an emergency dentist in the area that they trust. With a great recommendation, you can feel secure knowing you’ll be visiting a quality emergency dentist.
A very simple option for finding an emergency dentist in your area is through an online search. There may be multiple practices that pop up. If this is the case, take a moment to consider the different options that are available. Check out their websites, any ratings and whether or not they take your insurance. Even if you are in pain, doing some quick research can save you a lot of money, and can help to ensure you receive the best care possible.
Speak with Your Insurance Company
While emergencies may not be covered, your insurance plan may help with dental emergency coverage. Speak with your insurance company about emergency coverage, and if there are any emergency dentists in the area that are in-network.