What if your kid suffers from a dental emergency at the most inconvenient time — that is, when business hours are over and clinics are already closed? Is it possible to find a 24-hour dental clinic to handle your kid’s case? Yes, it is.
Some clinics have extended hours for its existing clients, while others have an on-call dentist for emergency cases. At any rate, if your kid’s case is a true medical emergency that needs to be managed right away, it is best to call 911.
Emergency dental situations are a common occurrence that affects many individuals. Based on the data of CDC, more than 90 million school and work hours are wasted annually due to these emergencies. There is no way to predict a dental emergency, so the key is to prepare for it by looking for dentists or dental clinics that offer 24-hours or after-hours dental care.
Again, if your kid’s case is a true medical emergency, calling 911 is recommended. For less serious concerns such as chipped teeth or dental pain due to decay, the more practical option would be to take your kid to an after-hours dentist.
Although not all dental emergencies are true medical emergencies, seeking dental care is still a must to prevent the issue from becoming a serious problem.
Listed below are some examples of true dental emergencies:
Less serious oral health issues that do not require immediate attention are still considered urgent concerns. Immediate treatment may not be required, but if left untreated, they may lead to much more serious consequences.
Listed below are some examples of urgent dental concerns:
When it comes to dental emergencies, there are steps that you can do to take care of your kid and provide relief to any pain or discomfort he or she might be experiencing.
|Dental pain caused by tooth decay||Gently brush and floss the area to remove any lodged food particles, then apply cold compress intermittently. If the pain persists, take an OTC painkiller.
|Chipped or broken tooth or dislodged filling or crown||Find the chipped or broken fragments to ensure that they are not accidentally ingested, aspirated, or lodged somewhere in the mouth. Then, cover the sharp edges of the tooth with dental wax to prevent injury to the soft tissues.
|Avulsed tooth||Hold the tooth by its crown and wash it under running water. If you can, replant the tooth back to its socket. Otherwise, store it in milk, salt solution, or inside the mouth. Keep it in a container, then bring your kid to your dentist right away.
|Bleeding and/or swollen gums||Gargle with a warm salt solution. Improve your oral hygiene by brushing and flossing thoroughly at least twice a day. It is also important to get professional cleaning done every 6 months at least.
|Broken appliance||Collect fragments and bring it to your dentist for possible repair. Cover any sharp edges with dental wax.
If your kid is suffering from a serious injury or urgent dental issue, going to the ER is alright. The ER physician can prescribe medications such as antibiotics and painkillers that can help provide relief for pain and discomfort. He or she may also address any bleeding that persists no matter what you do.
However, dental procedures are out of physicians’ scope, so you will still have to bring your kid to the dentist for proper dental care.
How can I find the right dentist for my kid? That’s the question every parent must have an answer to, especially since at least 40% of kids get tooth decay by the time they’re in kindergarten.
When looking for a dental care provider, it is important to consider the following key factors:
The cost of after-hours dental care is more or less that same as your typical, business-hours dental care. Compared to ER care, it should be cheaper. The cost of dental care in an ER is approximately three times more than that of a regular dental office, reaching as much as $800 for a single visit.
All kids, with or without insurance, have the right to dental care. Unfortunately, dental care doesn’t come cheap. Fortunately, there are flexible payment options you can employ and one of them is CareCredit. CareCredit is a healthcare financing company that allows individuals to pay for healthcare on an installment basis.
You may also apply for Medicaid if you still haven’t got one. Medicaid is a government-funded insurance, with benefits that may vary according to state. It pays for dental care of individuals under 21 years of age, while coverage is limited to emergency dental care for individuals above 21.
CHIP is another government-funded health insurance specifically intended for kids who don’t qualify for Medicaid. It provides dental insurance coverage for kids aged 19 years and below.
Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2018/17_0225.htm
Texas A&M University Health Science Center:
The Center for Pediatric Dentistry:
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research:
National Center for Biotechnology Information: