Don’t Let Dental Emergencies Send You to the ER

Don’t Let Dental Emergencies Send You to the ER

Millions of people each year experience a dental emergency so bad and so painful that it sends them to the emergency room. In 2012 alone, 2.2 million people used the ER for their dental care after pain or an infection became so bad they couldn’t stand it any longer. Letting a cavity or gum disease go too long without treatment can land you in a hospital bed with a severe and even life-threatening infection if you’re not careful.

The problem, though, is that hospitals don’t have the staff or facilities to take care of dental problems and emergencies. You’re usually given an antibiotic or pain medication but no solution for the underlying dental problem. Many of these visits are for problems liked advanced dental decay, something that could have been prevented or corrected.

Don’t want to end up in the emergency room for something as preventable as an unbearable toothache? Here’s how to avoid it.

Get Preventative Care

Get Preventative CareRegular check-ups will keep your teeth healthy and find problems, like cavities, before they turn into emergencies. A lot of things keep people from the dentist’s office from fear of the dentist to a lack of dental insurance. Both can be helped to a certain degree so that you get the care you need as long as you’re willing to talk about it and ask for help.

If you have dental anxieties or find yourself strapped for cash, speak with your dentist and the staff to find out what your options may be. Don’t let either of those reasons worsen because a major dental emergency sent you to the emergency room.

Don’t Ignore Pain

Don’t Ignore PainIt’s common for people to think they can just tough it out when they hurt or that pain will go away on its own. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and it shouldn’t be ignored. You may feel silly going in for a small twinge in your mouth but it’s better than waiting until the pain becomes blinding.

If you’ve got a check-up coming up, use that as an opportunity to tell your dentist what doesn’t feel quite right. Very often it’s something that needs a minor fix. When you don’t say something, it can turn into a nightmare that lands you in the ER.

Don’t Wait Too Long

Don’t Wait Too LongSometimes it’s not pain that you ignore, it’s knowing you need to have a procedure done or that something doesn’t feel quite right. Going to the dentist might not be on your list of favorite things to do, but not going can lead to serious problems. Keep your appointments and schedule them as needed.

Think about it this way: the time or money it takes to fill a cavity or get a crown put in is much less than what happens when you end up in the emergency room. A few hours off of work and a little money spent doesn’t look quite so bad compared to a week in the hospital and tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

Find an Emergency Dentist

Find an Emergency DentistEven patients who get their regular dental check-ups sometimes ignore their own pain or delay necessary procedures. Save yourself time and money and find an emergency dentist instead of going to the ER. When you need emergency dental care, you’ll see someone with the resources, tools, and staff to deal with the problem.

The emergency room is equipped to stabilize you and send you on your way. Unless you have a life-threatening infection, this means a little medication and being told to call your dentist. This doesn’t actually fix your problem, especially if you never call the dentist. With an emergency dentist, diagnostics will be run to determine the problem and a plan will be put in place, sometimes immediately. If you’re feeling anxious, your dentist can usually offer different forms of sedation to help you calm down. The ER isn’t designed to do any of that.


The reasons you tell yourself for why you can’t or won’t go to the dentist sound like good ones at the moment. They make sense until you find yourself in excruciating pain, with a high fever, and unable to function. The emergency room, however, should be an option of last resort. Instead, find a qualified dentist who will help you prevent these issues from happening and be there for you when a dental emergency hits.