Emergency Room Dental Care

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
March 10, 2010


Dental assistant brushing false teeth


Updated May 2021

Did you know that millions of people end up in the emergency room each year because of dental pain, and the number of people visiting the ER for oral health problems has been increasing? It’s true and, unfortunately, it leads to high costs. 

Continue reading to learn about why people visit the ER for oral health problems, and how much it can cost. 

Why Would Someone Go to the ER for Dental Issues?

Dental problems are common, and people of all ages are affected, from kids to seniors. But why would they go to the hospital instead of a dentist’s office? 

Put simply, the problem is often an inability to afford dental appointments and procedures. In other words, people lack the funds to pay out-of-pocket, and they don’t have insurance that will help cover the bill when seeing a dentist. 

Also, when people can’t afford to see the dentist, they’re more likely to let their dental problems worsen over time. Once the pain, decay, or infection becomes unbearable, they go to the ER for help.  

Tip: If you’re experiencing symptoms of an oral health problem, such as swollen and bleeding gums or tooth pain, it’s important to see a dental care professional as soon as possible. Waiting to receive care will only cause the problem to worsen and become more difficult and costly to treat. And, sometimes, people end up needing to be hospitalized because their condition becomes so severe. Yikes!

The Problem with Going to the ER Instead of the Dentist

When it comes to tooth and gum problems, it really is best to go to a dentist’s office for diagnosis and treatment. If you end up going to the emergency room, you’ll probably discover that they don’t even have a dentist to help you. 

What, if anything, can hospitals do for you? Well, many times, people are just given antibiotics or painkillers to ease symptoms until they can receive proper care from a dental professional. But if you never go to the dentist to treat and resolve the problem, odds are you’ll end up at the hospital again. 

Another major problem with going to the ER for oral health problems: the high cost! According to the American Dental Association, if you have dental pain and you go to the emergency room, the average price might be anywhere from $400-1,500, which is much higher than what you’d typically pay at the dentist. And if you need to be hospitalized, the costs will be much higher.  

The Solution Is Simple: Affordable Dental Insurance and Preventive Steps!

Compared to people who have dental insurance, individuals who don’t have it end up in the ER more often because of oral health problems. If you thought this type of insurance is expensive, think again. These days, there are surprisingly affordable options, so you don’t need to go without dental care. 

Take the plans offered by Spirit as an example. You can find policies that will cover everything from cleanings and checkups to orthodontics and major services, and you can rest assured that your whole family will be covered too! 

A strict at-home oral hygiene routine combined with regular trips to the dentist with the help of insurance can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing oral health ailments, as well as finding them in their earliest stages when they’re easier and less expensive to treat. Taking a preventative approach goes a long way, so don’t hesitate to look into the Spirit dental insurance plans available in your area!

Sources:

https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Public%20Programs/Files/ER_Utilization_Issues_Flyer.ashx

https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/7226-emergency-room-visits-for-dental-problems-cost-2-billion-a-year

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/seeking-treatment-for-oral-care-problems-in-emergency-rooms

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/29/er-dental-visits/29492599/

https://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/action-for-dental-health/er-referral



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