senior woman holding her jaw in painYou’ve probably heard people say there’s nothing worse than a toothache. While that’s an example of hyperbole at its finest, there is no debating the fact that a toothache is painful and will likely ruin your whole day if left untreated. If your teeth or gums hurt, you will be miserable and do just about anything to find relief—including going to an Emergency Department at one of your local hospitals.

While there are some true dental emergencies that may require emergent care to stop bleeding, extract an infected or broken tooth, or stop unrelenting pain, most dental emergencies are not serious enough to be treated in an Emergency Room and can wait until you get an appointment with your general dentist in Wilmington, North Carolina.

While some Wilmington general dentists do offer after-hours care, most general dentists in Wilmington and surrounding areas will get you squeezed into the schedule on the same day as your urgent dental problem (or the day after if the problem happens during the night, on a weekend, or on a holiday). Emergency departments in Wilmington and all around the country are intended to care for the most seriously injured or ill patients, and when someone goes to the ED for a non-emergent dental issue, time and resources are used up and could cost serious issues in both the short and long term. A non-emergent ER visit will likely cost thousands of dollars, and your time and the time of the ER staff will be used for a non-urgent problem.

When to Find A Dentist for Your Urgent Care

There are dental problems that do warrant a trip to the emergency room, and when these occur, it’s best to seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, however, that emergency department staff are trained to provide immediate relief and are not to give long-term care. The goal of any emergency room in the United States is to assess the seriousness of a medical problem, treat it as conservatively and quickly as possible, and provide follow-up instructions until the patient can see their regular doctor (or dentist).

When administered properly, emergent dental care can save you in cases of life-threatening infection; emergency dental treatment can also save your natural teeth. Here are some dental emergencies that may warrant a trip to the emergency department in your Wilmington, NC, hospital:

  • If your tooth gets knocked out, an ER doctor may be able to put it back in and save it
  • If you have pain that is preventing you from eating, sleeping, and performing the activities of daily living, an ER doctor may provide fast pain relief to hold you over until your dental appointment
  • Broken or loose braces that could cut your mouth or throat can be fixed by emergency department staff
  • Chipped, cracked, and broken teeth that are dangerous to your health, safety, and wellbeing can be removed by ER personnel
  • A swallowed lost filling or dental crown may need to be “found” by an ER doc
  • A large abscess in the mouth may need to be irrigated and drained by an ER doctor
  • Swollen, red, painful areas of the mouth interfering with your ability to sleep, eat, and speak can be treated by an ER doc to reduce swelling, redness, and pain
  • A broken jaw or any broken bone in the face or head will need ER treatment immediately

Avoid the ER for Dental Care When Possible

Going to the ER is expensive, regardless of what you go for and how long you spend there. Diagnostic testing, medication, and treatment are costly, and for patients with no health insurance, the bill can be astronomical. Another reason to avoid going to the ER for a dental problem is that emergency departments are not fully equipped to deal with the myriad of dental problems people suffer.

Your Wilmington general dentist has the tools, advanced dental technology, and training to diagnose your problem and treat it in the most effective way possible. Remember that ERs are ideal for short-term relief of acute medical issues. You cannot substitute excellent general dental care with a trip to the ER.

Get Help for an Urgent Dental Problem in Wilmington, NC Today

If you’re looking for expert dental care in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 today to schedule an appointment or get your urgent dental question answered. Kuzma Advanced Dentistry, serving Wilmington, NC, and surrounding areas, specializes in general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry and will do everything we can to fix your dental problem quickly and effectively. Please fill out our online contact form for non-emergent dental issues, and one of our Wilmington, NC, dental team members will reach out to you soon.