Dental emergencies are one of the worst situations a patient can experience in their life. It is painful, discomforting, and inconvenient. Although most hospitals or localities do provide dental emergency care, it can cost you more than a regular dental visit.
Some of the common dental emergencies that a person can experience include severe tooth pain, tooth fracture, knocked-out-tooth, tooth abscess, and painful gum swelling. Emergency dentists are specially trained to provide immediate relief from all these conditions.
Procedures like root canal treatment, tooth extraction, and crown placement are some of the most common dental emergency treatments. Although these treatments are expensive, they provide instant pain relief, damage control, and prevent the spread of disease.
Today’s article will highlight the cost factor associated with dental emergency treatments. Furthermore, we will discuss insurance coverage and preventive tip for dental emergencies.
What is a dental emergency?
A dental emergency is usually an alarming situation potentially, which often requires immediate care to alleviate tooth pain and prevent damage to the surrounding tissues. Some of the common causes of dental emergencies may include a traumatic accident, exacerbation of an underlying tooth or gum infection and tooth fracture. (1)
Typically, dental emergencies can be categorized into the following –
- Immediate emergencies involve conditions with intense pain such as a knocked-out tooth, dental infection, facial pain, and bleeding from soft tissue.
- Moderate emergencies usually include tooth pain, orthodontic and denture fracture, and adjustments
- Urgent emergencies may include cracked or fractured teeth, fractured filling or crown, and a loose tooth.
How much does an emergency dental visit cost?
Root Canal treatments
Usually, a root canal treatment is performed when a tooth has a pulp infection, which can potentially spread into the neck and face. This treatment typically involves removing the dead pulp, cleaning, and shaping the root canals, filling them with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
A tooth filling and dental crown are usually required to strengthen the tooth and increase longevity. The cost of root canal treatment often depends on the type of tooth involved –
Front teeth may cost – $700-$900 per tooth (2)
Back teeth may cost – $800- $1200 per tooth
Tooth extraction is often performed in extreme cases of tooth infection or traumatic fracture. Moreover, it is performed when any other dental treatment cannot save the tooth. Usually, tooth extractions are performed under local anesthesia.
The cost of tooth extraction may typically vary on the type of tooth. Emergency tooth extraction usually costs around $200- $600.
Tooth fillings are usually needed when a tooth has minor cracks or minimal fractures. Additionally, early tooth decay can also be filled with restorative materials. Most of the dental materials used by emergency dentists include composite or silver amalgam. The cost of tooth filling primarily depends on the type of restorative material used –
Cost of a silver amalgam filling may range between $110- $200 per tooth(3)
Cost of a resin-based composite filling may range between $135- $240 per tooth
Dental Crown placement
Dental crowns are therapeutic devices made from porcelain or ceramic. These are usually given after a root canal treatment or when there is extensive damage to the tooth structure. The cost of dental crowns often depends on the material used for fabrication –
- Metal crowns costs between $1,200 – $1,400 per tooth.
- Porcelain fused to metal crowns range between $1,000-1,150 per tooth.
- Al ceramic crowns range between $2000 – $5000 per tooth.
Most dental insurance cover some of the emergency dental procedure. It is essential to contact your insurance provider and get an estimate of out-of-pocket costs before you receive care from a dentist.
Uninsured individuals can discuss installment plans with the dentists or check for federally-funded support services that may provide free or reduced-cost dental care services if they are applicable for the individual. (4)
Prevent dental emergency and save money
Prevention of dental emergencies is one of the best ways to save you from the misery of tooth pain and expensive treatments. You can do that by visiting your regular dentist at least twice a year for a thorough checkup and cleaning followed by regular dental health maintenance at home.
Generally, professional tooth cleaning helps to remove dental plaque and calculus that might have accumulated over time. Moreover, the dentist may check for oral health issues, such as tooth cavities, gum disease, and tooth fractures. Routine dental checkups are always covered by dental insurance. Therefore, you must utilize this opportunity and prevent dental emergencies.
Other tips to prevent dental emergencies include –
- Wearing a mouthguard especially when playing contact sports
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine
- Avoid biting into hard foods like ice and hard candy
- Never ignore tooth pain or sensitivity – get it checked immediately before the symptoms worsen
Take away message
Dental emergencies are one of the most painful encounters a person can have due to tooth fracture, trauma, or dental infection. Usually, emergency dentists assess the condition of the patient and provide quick treatments to relieve pain and prevent the spread of the disease.
Conventional dental emergency treatments include root canal therapy, tooth extraction, dental crown, and tooth filling. Often these procedures are quite expensive as compared to regular dental treatments.
The best way to avoid the miseries of tooth pain and expensive emergency visits is to follow excellent oral hygiene and keep up with routine dental checkups.