Nearly one million Americans have a dental emergency each year, and that number is not expected to decrease during the COVID-19 pandemic. A hospital emergency room is where most people go to receive care during a dental emergency, but these places are currently facing multiple issues that can make getting treatment difficult. Instead, you should think about visiting your dentist first for such issues. While many are closed for preventive visits, they can still see you for dental emergencies. Here are four reasons why you should consider visiting your dentist first in the event of an urgent dental problem.
Since the start of the pandemic, hospitals have been trying to keep up with a surge of critically ill patients. Combined with low levels of supplies and personal protective equipment, now is a very difficult time in any emergency room. When you choose to have your dental emergency treated by your dentist, you’re saving valuable resources for coronavirus patients.
Every patient who walks into an emergency room brings their germs with them. Because emergency rooms see many people on a daily basis, the odds you are going to be exposed to the coronavirus increase if you choose to find urgent care there. In contrast, a dentist’s office is going to have far fewer people inside it. You won’t have to sit and wait next to other sick people either because they are only open for emergency cases. As soon as you arrive, your dentist should be able to see you.
Emergency rooms are focused on getting you out of pain, not providing complex dental care. In most cases, they lack the equipment and expertise necessary to find the true cause of your problem. At a dental office, you’ll be treated by someone who has dedicated their life to studying the human mouth. They will be able to use specialized tools to identify the real reason for your issue and treat it correctly on the first visit.
Because emergency rooms can’t provide in-depth dental care, you may end up returning for multiple rounds of ineffective treatment, or even just being referred to a dentist for more effective dental care. Multiple trips can drive up the total cost of care. You can save your money by coming to the dentist first.
It’s important to remember that a dentist can’t help you with every kind of emergency. If you find that you’re bleeding profusely or fear that your jaw bone may be broken, you need to go to the emergency room first. A dentist can help you with smaller emergencies such as:
COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you from seeking out care when you have a dental emergency. If you can, consider visiting a dentist first. There, you will be treated quickly while reducing your risk of exposure to the virus.
Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya completed dental school at the University of Florida in 2000. Through years of continuing education and the advanced technology at his practice, he is able to provide emergency patients with solutions that are functional and pain-free. If you think you need urgent dental care, you can reach him through his website or at 941-256-7559.