What Is a Dental Emergency? Should You Go to the Dentist?

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
What Is a Dental Emergency? Should You Go to the Dentist?

What is a dental emergency? This question has an easy—and obvious—answer. Whether you have a broken or knocked-out tooth, you’ve lost a filling or a crown, or you have an infection or excessive bleeding in the mouth, it’s pretty clear that you have a dental emergency and should seek medical attention. However, some people believe they should wait to see their dentist until an emergency arises, figuring that dental care can be handled then.

Can you wait until it’s an emergency before seeing the dentist? Penn Dental Medicine (PDM) clarifies any misconceptions that might get in the way of your good oral health and hygiene.

Tooth Pain? What to Do: 3 Myths & Facts

Myth #1: Dental appointments are only necessary when there is a problem.

Fact: Googling “How long does a toothache last?” before deciding if your situation qualifies as a dental emergency isn’t the best way to manage your dental health. Regular dental checkups are essential for preventive care and early detection of potential issues. They address concerns before they turn into problems and need emergency care. And you may avoid expensive medical bills.

A young woman frowns and holds her hand to her sore mouth as she wonders, “How long does a toothache last?” When to see a dentist about tooth pain:

Dental pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain or throbbing that affects your daily activities. Toothaches should never be ignored, even if they seem manageable at first. Ignoring tooth pain and waiting for it to become an emergency can have serious consequences.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, it’s crucial to see a dentist as soon as possible. Toothaches are often a sign of an underlying dental issue, such as tooth decay, a tooth abscess, infection, or gum disease. By seeking prompt dental attention, your dentist can diagnose and treat the problem before it worsens.

Myth #2: Dental problems are not a big deal. I brush and floss my teeth, so I can wait.

Fact: Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health. Ignoring dental issues and waiting for them to become emergencies can have negative consequences beyond just your teeth and gums. Dental infections can spread to other parts of the body, leading to serious health complications. For example, untreated gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and even pregnancy complications.

Regular dental checkups allow your dentist to identify and address any potential issues before they become serious. By taking care of your oral health, you are also taking care of your overall health.

Three PDM dentists look at an X-ray to determine why a tooth is painful. Myth #3: Dental treatment is too expensive, so it’s better to wait for an emergency.

Fact: The cost of dental care can be a concern for many people. Statistics show that 92% of Americans think about delaying dental care because of the costs. However, waiting until an emergency arises can end up being more costly in the long run. By regularly visiting your dentist for preventive care, any potential issues can be identified and addressed early, saving you from more extensive and expensive treatments later. Preventive care is often less expensive than emergency dental procedures, and it can help you maintain good oral health and avoid unnecessary pain and complications.

Additionally, at PDM, our unique care model allows us to offer dental care at rates 50% to 70% lower than other practices. Cost does not have to be a factor keeping you from dental care with us.

Emergency—and Regular—Dental Services at PDM

At PDM, we understand the importance of preventive care and early intervention. That’s why we recommend regular dental checkups to our patients. Our experienced dentists and hygienists can identify any potential issues and provide appropriate treatment before they become emergencies, saving you from unnecessary pain and complications down the line.

A young woman gives a thumbs-up from an exam chair at the dentist after her dental emergency. We also offer emergency dental services for those unexpected situations that require immediate attention. Whether it’s a severe toothache, a broken tooth, or any other dental emergency, our team is here to provide the necessary care. Read more about our emergency dental services and policy here. (If it’s a life-threatening situation, please call 911 or go directly to your nearest hospital.)

Prevention is always better than Googling “What is a dental emergency?” By scheduling regular dental appointments, you can catch potential issues early and prevent them from becoming emergencies. Schedule that checkup today.

To learn more about the importance of regular dental care and how to afford comprehensive dental services, download our free ebook, “Affordability of Truly Comprehensive Dental Care.”

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