Dental emergencies never happen at a convenient time. Panic and stress set in quickly, and it’s important to think on your feet and take appropriate action. Not only do you want to make sure any existing problems don’t get worse, but you’re also likely concerned about how much treatment will cost.
In this blog, we’ll help you determine when something is considered an emergency, what to do and what you can expect to pay based on whether you have insurance.
The American Dental Association defines a dental emergency as anything “potentially life-threatening and requiring immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding or to alleviate severe pain or infection.”
This can include situations like:
Most oral health care is considered non-emergency. This includes:
Other conditions—like a dull toothache, a lost filling, food deeply lodged between teeth or a small crack or chip—should lead you to call your dentist and seek treatment as soon as possible but aren’t considered an emergency.
When a dental emergency occurs, it’s important to understand when to go to a dental office and when to go straight to the emergency room (ER). In most cases, we recommend going to your dentist or an emergency dental office right away.
If you’re unable to find an emergency dentist or are experiencing severe symptoms, don’t take any chances and go to the ER. But, keep in mind that ER nurses and doctors are typically only equipped to treat certain dental issues, like bacterial infections, bleeding gums and dental fractures. They can also help to manage pain with certain antibiotics.
Most of the time, dental emergencies can be treated the same way for children as they are for adults, like in the case of an adult tooth being severely cracked or knocked out.
If your child is experiencing a toothache, rinse out their mouth to keep it clean and floss between all teeth. Avoid applying aspirin to the area. If the pain continues, contact your dentist.
Accidents happen and at times are unavoidable, but there are steps to take to reduce the likelihood of a dental emergency:
General medical insurance only covers dental emergencies if you’ve sustained other injuries or have a medical condition that affects your oral health. Your visit has to be deemed medically necessary to qualify for coverage.
Dental insurance helps to cover some of the costs of emergency dentistry.
If you don’t have insurance, you can anticipate a bill up to hundreds or thousands of dollars. The cost will depend on how severe the condition is, the treatment required and where you live.
But don’t let cost lead you to avoid getting the care you need. Dental emergencies don’t go away on their own; the longer you wait to see your dentist, the worse it will become and the more expensive it will be to treat.
Spirit Dental & Vision offers dental insurance with no waiting period. Be prepared in case of an emergency by enrolling in a plan today.[Find a plan]