Toothaches and other tooth problems can be extremely painful and debilitating. It may seem like going to the emergency room is your only option. While the emergency room is a great place to get treatment in emergency situations, you should consider other options for most of your dental emergencies. You will be able to save money, save time, and get more specialized treatment from dental specialists who can help you on your road to great oral health.

Additional Cost

Unfortunately, more and more employers are not offering their employees dental insurance, so those patients seek emergent care for their tooth problems instead of regular dental checkups. A visit to the emergency room can cost you exponentially more money than your yearly visits to your dentist. Even with insurance, a trip to the hospital can cost you more in co-pays than your annual dental expenses. Most dental insurances cover two annual visits per year, which can help you treat and avoid further dental issues. Investing in preventative dental care can save you thousands of dollars over the long term.

Additional Time

According to a 2019 hospital report (ProPublica), the lowest wait time before being sent home for any emergency room in Louisiana was 1.03 hours. This wait time increased by over 50% for those who were eventually admitted into the hospital! When you are in pain, this wait can be excruciating. You also run the risk of being exposed to other illnesses from other patients waiting in the waiting area. Especially with strict COVID regulations, you may not even be allowed to wait in the emergency room. You can avoid this wait by scheduling a visit with your dentist that fits into your daily schedule. In this way, you can avoid the lines and wait by being seen by a dental specialist at a time that is best for you and your schedule.

Can They Treat Me?

Emergency care physicians are highly trained for emergent situations and trauma responses. Though they have many years of expertise, they may not be able to treat the source of your dental problems. They can, however, provide you with medication to heal any infections that you may have in your mouth or gums. They can also provide pain medication to help ease the pain you are feeling. Ultimately, however, they will refer you to a dentist for further and more in-depth treatment. Dentists have more direct experience with dental problems than any other doctor. They will be able to discover the specific problem you are dealing with and provide you with multiple treatment options to help you get better.

True Dental Emergencies

Though the emergency room may not be the best place to be treated for your minor dental problems, there are situations in which going there is the best option. If you have experienced trauma to your mouth that is causing you extreme pain, cuts, bruising, and/or swelling, visiting the emergency room should be your first stop. Also, if you have an abscess or severe mouth infection that has not gone away with antibiotics or within a few weeks, the hospital will be able to treat the infection before it becomes life-threatening. In most other occasions, making an appointment with your local emergency dentist is the best way to get treatment.

Preventative Measures

To avoid a visit to the hospital for severe tooth pain or other problems, there are preventative measures that you can take to improve your oral health. First, engaging in regular oral health practices such as brushing and flossing can help prevent gum disease and decay. Second, having yearly visits with your dentist can help you treat problems before they become serious. Lastly, temporarily treating minor oral pain with aspirin until you can see a dental specialist can ease the pain you experience.
If you are experiencing a dental emergency, contact your local emergency dentist in Lafayette, LA & Broussard, LA  – Guillot Dental.