You can’t always predict a dental emergency, but you can plan for one.
Dental emergencies send about one million Americans to the ER every year, but they’re also one of the more avoidable types of emergencies.
Certain dental emergencies relating to trauma can’t be predicted, such as an accident leading to a tooth being knocked out. Other dental emergency visits are related to treatable conditions, such as a toothache going without treatment, eventually leading to an abscess and an emergency dental visit.
Even in the case of a more predictable dental emergency, it can still be hard to determine whether your toothache will wear off or whether it’ll lead to an emergency dental appointment. Since toothaches are very unpleasant and ER visits are expensive and not ideal during a pandemic, creating a dental emergency plan is a great idea.
Not only can a plan help you avoid a potential emergency, but you’ll also feel more confident in dealing with an unpredictable emergency if one does come up.
Signs You’re Experiencing a Dental Emergency That Requires Urgent Care
So what exactly constitutes a dental emergency?
Here are a few signs you’re experiencing a dental emergency that requires urgent or emergency care:
- Severe, intense tooth or gum pain
- Gums that won’t stop bleeding
- A broken, cracked, or lost tooth
- Chronic tooth pain that consistently comes and goes
- Facial swelling, especially when accompanied by pain
- A feeling of pressure under a tooth when biting down
While severely breaking or even losing a tooth is very traumatic and requires immediate care, it’s often an infection that can lead to serious health risks.
A really bad toothache definitely requires a visit to the dentist, but an urgent appointment is necessary if the pain is accompanied by facial swelling, fever, dizziness, nausea, and symptoms of a dental abscess. Dental infections can spread to the rest of the body and should be taken very seriously.
Delaying dental treatment is the most common cause of emergencies; however, at-home care can help alleviate symptoms.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This saying couldn’t be more accurate than when discussing a dental emergency plan.
A major part of a dental emergency plan is to try to prevent predictable emergencies. And the best way to do this is by following through on any dental treatment plans recommended by your dentist as soon as possible.
However, since visiting the dentist for non-urgent care isn’t possible right now due to CDC recommendations, you can help stave off the inevitable by following a consistent oral hygiene routine that includes twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing and mouthwash use. And when dental offices open up again, it’s important that you continue with your biannual preventive treatments to address any possible concerns.
The best way to avoid an emergency is to proactively pursue treatment.
The typical dental emergency usually occurs when a once minor dental problem goes without treatment. Toothache pain is the most common non-trauma emergency and most often starts as untreated tooth decay. Tooth decay can spread and destroy the tooth structure quickly, and a once small cavity can turn into a severely painful infection before you know it.
It’s natural to want to wait it out when it comes to a toothache, especially when our lives keep us so busy that scheduling dental appointments can be tricky. Unfortunately, unlike a strained muscle or a rolled ankle, tooth problems don’t heal with time. Once decay or infection has set in, the only way to stop it from worsening is to get treatment from your dentist.
Making the time to see your dentist bi-annually for preventive care and following up on any treatment plans for problem teeth swiftly will help keep dental emergencies away, but in the meantime, it’s important that you stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene routine to keep any possible problems from becoming worse.
How to Financially Plan for a Dental Emergency Ahead of Time
For many people, a significant part of a dental emergency plan revolves around financial planning.
Dental care is an investment and worth every penny, but a sudden dental emergency can hurt anyone’s budget since it’s not expected. There are two ways to financially plan for a dental emergency: Set money aside to cover an emergency or see about getting pre-approved for financial assistance through a credit line.
Set aside a small amount of money every month for emergencies.
Setting aside a small amount of money every month is a great way to plan for a dental emergency. This amount can be as much as $100 to as little as $10. The real goal is to consistently contribute to your emergency fund. Transferring this money to a hands-off savings account so it’s out of sight and out of mind can also be helpful.
Even if you aren’t able to save enough to completely cover the cost of a dental emergency, you will have peace of mind knowing you have some money set aside to offset the costs of an emergency.
Ask your dentist about what financing options are available.
When your savings don’t completely cover a dental emergency, there are some financing options that can help you keep things affordable. It’s a good idea to check with your dental office first to make sure the option you’re interested in is accepted.
At Farless Dental Group, we accept financing through CareCredit. We also invite our patients to ask us about payment options so we can work together to find an affordable solution.
Keep in mind that financing options aren’t just for emergencies. If you need help affording restorative or cosmetic dental care, such as crowns, implants, or veneers, we are more than happy to help you figure out a payment plan. In many cases outside of a pandemic, it’s a better idea to seek out financial help and get a procedure taken care of quickly rather than waiting, but in cases such as these, it’s best to hold off on non-urgent dental procedures and only contact your dentist if a dental emergency occurs.
Do you have a dental emergency right now? Farless Dental Group can help.
If you’re currently experiencing a dental emergency, Farless Dental Group can help you get relief.
Dr. Farless can help patients experiencing most types of dental emergencies, such as a severe toothache, a broken tooth, a lost filling, and more. All you need to do is give our office a call and let us know what symptoms you’re experiencing. We’ll inform Dr. Farless and do our best to see you as soon as we can the same day.
If you’re not currently experiencing a dental emergency but need help with a dental treatment plan, you can take the first step by scheduling a future consultation appointment with Dr. Farless when our offices reopen for preventive care.