You’ve had that painful sensation in your molar for a while now, but today the pain has become noticeably worse. You knew that a toothache could be painful, but bad enough to cause a visit the ER?
The American Dental Association (ADA) has done some studies regarding dental pain and ER visits. It is estimated that the number of ER visits due to dental pain has more than doubled in the last 10 years. The number of visits is now over 2 million per year. This number makes up almost 10% of the total number of ER visits per year amongst adults. Additionally, it was found that 80% of these visits were due to a preventable condition like a dental cavity.
Unfortunately, most emergency rooms are not adequately prepared to handle visits due to dental pain. Emergency rooms typically do not have dental x-ray machines or a dental professional on staff. This means that when you go to the ER to deal with the pain, it will not be treated correctly. Typically, the ER will offer some medication for the infection or pain but not treat the underlying issue. If you do not have a follow up visit with your dentist to treat it, the pain will continue.
Most dental emergencies are avoidable if you keep routine dental visits. Cavities, which are almost completely avoidable, is one of the most common disease in America—only behind the common cold. If you do not adequately protect your teeth by brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting the dentist, you could experience cavities. If you start to develop cavities, they can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection and disease, and more.
Another major cause of dental ER visits is from gum disease. According to the United States CDC, nearly 50% of adults in the US have some form of gum disease. If you have gum disease, and it becomes advanced enough, it can lead to a higher chance of suffering from stroke, diabetes, and heart problems. If you visit the dentist and receive dental cleanings, your chance of developing gum disease goes down significantly.