Health experts and officials see nothing wrong with going to the ER to get treated for toothache. Many Americans continue to seek ER dental treatments, which is rather understandable given that very few dental offices are open at odd hours. ERs are open 24/7 and may be qualified enough to deal with simple dental issues, so there's usually no shortage of staff who can remove one’s aching tooth or administer medication.
Then again, are you sure you are getting the dental care you need at an ER? Taunya English of NewsWorks outlines the various concerns with ER dental care.
The primary issue has to do with cost. Routine preventive dental care generally costs less than $100, while the same type of care in the ER can cost up to ten times as much. Experts say this is due to the use of painkillers and antibiotics in ER procedures. Kristen Lloyd, senior research analyst for the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, believes insurance is to blame.
"They are sort of in this gap, where they are falling off parents' insurance or they are aging out of Family Care or Medicaid that provides them some dental coverage, and they can't afford their own," Lloyd said.Not all ER Dentists On Call
Second, not all ERs have a dentist on call. As a result, ER staff may only be limited to pain relief via painkillers or antibiotics.
"They can provide you with an antibiotic and help with the pain but really you need to go to a dentist to get that taken care of ultimately," Llyod said.Some problems such as bleeding following dental work, for instance, also need to be dealt with as soon as possible. For dental patients in such a predicament, morning can't come fast enough. Luckily, time is not an issue for a trusted emergency dentist in Philadelphia like Dr. Gerald Regni who can be called upon to treat cases like toothache, cracked or broken teeth, and swollen jaws 24/7.
Health officials are looking for ways to provide affordable dental care for patients. As mentioned earlier, the ER also deals with non-dental cases, so they can't afford to be stretched any thinner. Ultimately, it makes sense to visit a Philadelphia emergency dentist at the first sign of dental problems, even while the rest of the city sleeps.
(Source: Toothaches still driving low-income New Jerseyans to emergency room, NewsWorks, March 28, 2014)