Category Archives: Emergency Dentist

Will an Emergency Dentist Charge the Cause of the Accident?

I was at a stag party. We were at a pub when one of the group got a little too drunk. He started trouble which ended up causing a fight. The result of which was my front tooth lost a piece and is now loose. I’m assuming I need an emergency dentist, but I’m broke. Will the dentist charge the fee to the moron who started all this?

Casey C.

Dear Casey,

A chipped tooth in need of an emergency dentist
Tooth trauma requires an emergency dental visit

I’m very sorry this happened to you. It’s hard when you’re trying to be responsible and the people around you cause problems. You’re right that this needs an emergency dentist. Your loose tooth needs to be splinted to stabilize it. There are several ways a dentist can do this. What method he or she uses will depend on what other issues your tooth is facing.

He’ll also want to examine it for trauma to the nerves or pulp. Internal damage could mean a root canal treatment and possible crown.

Once the tooth is secure, if there’s no other damage you can fix the broken piece with dental bonding. You don’t have to have the piece that broke. A skilled cosmetic dentist can sculpt a composite resin onto your tooth which will look just like your natural tooth structure and blend in perfectly.

Who Pays for Emergency Dental Care?

Unless the person responsible comes and agrees to pay for treatment, the dentist can’t bill him. He can only bill the person receiving the services or their legal guardian without prior approval. However, you can ask for a detailed bill of the damage and send the bill to the offender. If he has integrity he may just pay. If he doesn’t, you may have to take him to small claims court.

Just be aware, many dentists are willing to work with patients financially, especially those in emergency situations. Just talk to the dentist ahead of time. If he’s not willing to work with you, try Care Credit, though most dentists offer that in-office. It’s a medical credit card that has low and even no-interest payments.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Which One of Us Did the Emergency Dentist Give the Wrong Treatment?

Something doesn’t seem quite kosher in a recent experience my husband and I had with an emergency dentist. We both had similar symptoms on different days, but received vastly different treatment. I had a toothache that would flare up every now and again. It was tolerable and I was busy so I just went on with things, while keeping a gauge on it. Eventually, I had some time and went to an emergency dentist. I was surprised to hear I needed a root canal treatment and crown. I went ahead and got them because he was the dentist and I was in pain. A few weeks later, my husband mentions his tooth hurts. I warned him to go in right away so he wouldn’t end up needing a root canal treatment, but like me, he’s stubborn. He waited for several weeks until it blew up and the pain was more than he was willing to put up with. But, when he saw the same emergency dentist, he just got a filling. The way I see it, either I was cheated and given a treatment I didn’t really need or he wasn’t properly cared for. Which do you think I should be worried about?

Aleiya M.

Dear Aleiya,

A man in pain needs to see a Salem Emergency Dentist

What to Expect From Your Emergency Dentist

There are a couple of issues going on here. The first is that this emergency dentist didn’t explain why you needed those procedures to either you or your husband. It’s unfair for a dentist to allow you to get a procedure without first explaining why it’s necessary and takes the time to answer any questions you may have.

I haven’t examined either of you but can give you a general idea of why some patients need a root canal treatment and some don’t, even with the same symptoms. A root canal treatment can be done for a number of reasons. Some of those include having an infected tooth, a cracked tooth, or even a cavity where the decay has reached the pulp of your tooth or gotten too close to the nerves in your tooth. The crown can be necessary if the tooth has died or if a cavity is so large it would weaken the tooth too much to do a simple filling.

It’s possible you had a cavity which was so large it reached the pulp requiring a root canal treatment and a crown. Your husband’s decay may have spread much slower causing him to only need a simple filling. Again, I’m sorry your dentist didn’t explain to either of you why you needed the procedures.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Another item that occurs to me is both of you needed to go to an emergency dentist. That often indicates you’re either new to the area and haven’t found a permanent dentist yet, or you have enough dental anxiety that you avoid getting regular dental care and only go in on an as-needed basis.

If you’re among the latter, let me assure you that there are dentists who cater to anxious patients. Working to put you at ease and give you a stress-free, pain-free dental appointment. I know getting regular care can be nerve-racking, but often just one or two appointments a year can not only prevent your cavities from spreading so far that the more intrusive procedures such as root canal treatment are not needed, but they can even prevent cavities altogether.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Canker Sore or Cancer?

My husband complained that his mouth was hurting too much to eat. I thought he was just avoiding vegetables, but he didn’t eat dessert either. I took a peek and he has a horrible spot in his mouth that looks like his skin is getting eaten away. He’s sure it’s just a canker sore and thinks it will go away. I’m worried it’s oral cancer. Is there a way to know? Would we see an emergency dentist to find out?

Tea L.

Dear Tea,

Your husband’s dentist likely does an oral cancer screening at his check-ups. If he hasn’t seen any warning signs, then it is likely just a canker sore. These will generally clear up in about two weeks. There’s no reason for an emergency dentist yet.

There are over-the-counter remedies you can try which could help with some of the pain. While they make pads to cover them, quite a few patients have found that saliva makes it difficult to keep them in place. I’ve found relief (though only temporarily) with some numbing cream.

If you’ve found it hasn’t healed after a couple of weeks, then you can schedule an appointment with your dentist to have a peek at it. Not healing quickly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cancer. It could just as easily be a virus or simply a canker sore taking a wee bit longer to heal, so I don’t want you stressing over it.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Can I Wait Before Getting a Filling?

My dentist told me today that I need two fililings. I spent most of what I had available for the dentist today.  Can I wait before getting them filled or will that cause problems? I just don’t know where I’ll find the money.

Percy M.

Dear Percy,

Mosts dentists understand that medical and dental care can be expensive. Generally, they’re willing to work with you to pay out the services. So, if the only thing holding you back is money, I bet just a simple phone call explaining your situation will help. Most offices have payment plans and will help you.

As far as how long you can wait, it really depends. Some cavities are in their early stages and you can wait a month or possibly even longer before it breaks through the enamel. Others are deeper and close to breaking through the dentin already.

You don’t want it getting to the dentin. That can blow up quickly and become a dental emergency situation. That can end up costing you a lot more money than getting the cavities covered.

For some people, there’s more to them avoiding dental care than finances (though I’m definitely not minimizing the impact of finances).  Many patients also struggle with dental anxiety.  If that is an additional concern of yours, you may want to look into a dentist who works with fearful patients. Depending on the level of your anxiety, you may be interested in sedation. But, it’s not always necessary with the right dentist.

What you don’t want to do is put it off so long where the only solution is to extract the tooth. Then you’re stuck researching tooth replacement options.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Is This White Sore in My Mouth Cancer?

I’ve got this painful white sore in my mouth. It’s making it hard to eat. Do I have cancer? Should I see a dentist?

Missy P. – Kentucky

Missy,

I couldn’t tell you if it was oral cancer without examining it.  Before you panic, though, it could just as likely be a canker sore. Your dentist should be doing regular examinations for oral cancer. If you don’t have a dentist, you can see an emergency dentist if it turns out not to be a canker sore.

True canker sores usually clear up between 10-14 days. It will just be a matter of managing the pain until then. There are oral antiseptics you can purchase over the counter.  They won’t take care of all the pain, but they can take the edge off of it.

If it doesn’t clear up in that amount of time, it’s time to get it checked out.  As I said before, if you don’t have a regular dentist an emergency dentist will see you. I have seen that most people who avoid the dentist do so out of fear.  There are dentists who are compassionate with fearful patients, who have methods of giving you a pain-free dental appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Left Without Help By An Emergency Dentist

It took a lot for me to go to the dentist even though it was an emergency. I knew I had a cavity on one tooth, but had been putting off getting it dealt with because dentists terrify me. The pain became so great I had to do something. I was especially worried because the pain seemed to have migrated onto the next tooth as well and I was worried it was spreading. I told them this and said I wanted to get all of it dealt with at one appointment because I don’t think I’d have the courage to go back again. They agreed. The dentist banged at the tooth that was bothering me. He took x-rays. He said there was a cavity that need to be filled. I reminded him about the other tooth. He acted surprised and looked at it again. Then said, “Oh yeah, there’s a problem there too.” Then he told me to schedule an appointment for follow up treatment and walked out the door. I was stunned. They had agreed to help me that day. I told the receptionist that as I checked out, but she said it’s the end of the day and there’s nothing more they can do. I practically had a panic attack getting there and not I’m left with nothing accomplished except what I knew before I got there. I’m still in a tremendous amount of pain and now out several hundred dollars. Is there any way to safely deal with this myself?  Please help me.

Natalie N. – Maryland

Natalie,

I’m am so sorry that this was your experience, especially after it took so much courage for you to go in. At the very least, the emergency dentist should have gotten you out of pain.  I want you to understand that not all dentists are this callous. I suspect he was rushing. You mentioned it was the end of the day. I’m a little disconcerted that he missed the original cavity. That hints that he was rushing.

Unfortunately, there is no home remedy that we’re aware of for dealing with cavities. They still have to be dug out and filled.

I’d like you to see another dentist in your area. Before you panic, I want to suggest something else. I want you to go to a sedation dentist or a cater to cowards dentist. They’re used to working with patients that have dental anxiety. They’ll also give you a pain-free experience.

To make sure you don’t repeat the experience you had, it will be helpful to also check their reviews. That way you’re more likely to  get a dentist with a positive chairside manner.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Is a Defective Crown a Dental Emergency?

Several years ago, I had porcelain crowns done across all my front teeth. They look great overall, and I’m actually still very happy with the aesthetics. One of them has always had a rough spot or a divot, though. I can feel it with my tongue, but I have never been able to see anything wrong with it. I did mention it to the dentist who did the crowns and she smoothed it out some, but I’ve still noticed it over the years. It was close, but not quite perfect. Lately, it has been feeling different- much more rough,  and I can actually see a dark mark. I don’t know if it’s just attracting stains or what, but I don’t think I’ve changed my habits and I get regular cleanings. I’m a little concerned that it is failing and that I’m going to be out on a business trip and the whole thing will crumble. Is this urgent enough to warrant a trip to the emergency dentist? Should I have the crown redone now or am I worrying about nothing?

Hank B. – Kansas

Dear Hank,

This may not necessitate a trip to the emergency dentist,  but it is something you should get checked out in the near future. It’s common for crowns (and natural teeth) to have some defects, but it sounds like yours has changed. It’s possible it has cracked.

If that’s the case, you would notice that it’s picking up stains as well. If it’s cracked, it will eventually break. There’s no way to predict exactly when that will happen.

Rather than letting it turn into a trip to the emergency dentist, especially if you’re an avid traveler, you should find a dentist who is skilled at cosmetic work in the very near future and have him examine it.

Depending on the age of the crown, it might be time to start thinking about replacing them all. Don’t be surprised if the dentist mentions this. However, the only reason to update the others is age or wear and tear. If the dentist suggests switching them all out so he can make them all match, that’s a sign that you’re not working with a skilled cosmetic dentist. You should be able to have just that one replaced and have it blend naturally, without having the others redone, too. Best of luck to you.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Did the Emergency Dentist Damage My Tooth?

I had a toothache and went to an emergency dentist. He did an x-ray and didn’t see a problem, though he said he suspected a tooth was cracked. He did a crown. I’m done with that and now, lo and behold the tooth next to it is suddenly gray. Did he damage it when he did the crown?

Justin L. – Nevada

Justin,

Before we address possible causes, I want to address the gray tooth. This tooth is either dead or dying. It needs treatment right away before it blows into a full blown infection. Don’t put this off. If you don’t trust this dentist, find another emergency dentist.

As for what happened, there are a few possibilities.

The first possibility is a misdiagnosis. It could have been the tooth hurting you all along. Your other tooth, the one that was crowned, could have referred pain. If you have another dentist look at the x-rays and they say it was a clear misdiagnosis, you could get a refund for the crown.

Another possibility is both teeth were injured simultaneously. Maybe when you traumatized the cracked tooth, you also injured the adjacent tooth, but it died slowly.

A third possibility is they are two completely separate injuries that happened at different times. That’s not the most likely, but is always  a possibility.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Why Would An Emergency Dentist Remove Most of A Child’s Teeth?

I read this horrific story about a little girl who had to have 16 teeth pulled by an emergency dentist. Is this standard procedure to simply pull out a child’s teeth?

Julie W. – Nevada

Julie,

No, that isn’t standard procedure. Most dentists work to save teeth, especially in children because they want their appointments to have as little trauma to them as possible, even in the case of emergency dental care.

I think I’m familiar with the case you’re referring to. It’s an unusual one. If I’m correct, you’re writing about the little girl in Great Britain who had severe decay.

In her case, she should have received help much sooner than she did, which could have saved her teeth. It took her hours to eat because it was so painful.  That alone was enough of a heads up that something was going on with her teeth.

Truthfully, it is important to take your children to the dentist early on. You want their first visits to be without having to repair damage. Let them experience the fun of having their teeth cleaned.  Do this regularly, and you won’t have to worry about situations like the one you read about the little English girl.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Help! My Tooth Crumbled Into My Food

I just received a temporary filling and am getting a root canal treatment in just a few days. I was eating some sticky rice at an Asian restaurant when I felt something weird going on with my tooth. Then I felt grains of what I think is my tooth structure in the my food. I think my tooth is crumbling. Can this wait until my root canal appointment or do I need to be seen in an emergency visit?

Marsha V. – Nashville

Marsha,

That depends on whether it’s the actual tooth structure crumbling or just the temporary crown coming apart. They’re designed to come out fairly easily so that is a real possibility. Sticky foods can also help that along.

Here’s what I’d like you to do, if you haven’t already. Look at the tooth. Does it look like it’s the tooth structure itself that’s coming apart, or is there a divot where the filling was placed?

If it’s the tooth itself, I’d call the dentist and ask if he wants you to come in for an emergency dental visit. If it’s the temporary filling, you’ll be fine.

There is dental filling material you can purchase at a local pharmacy. It’s also designed to be temporary and will not be a good subsititute for a permanent filling. You’re the exact type of case this store bought filling is used for. It will help keep things in place until you go in for your root canal treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.