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What Is Emergency Dental Care?

We hope you never have to encounter one, but dental emergencies do happen. There can be a fine line between regular dental issues and a dental emergency. Knowing the differences can help you choose an insurance plan that can help cover your dental needs.1

It can also be helpful to understand the waiting periods in your dental plan, so you know what to expect if a surprise issue arises.

What is a Dental Emergency?

A dental emergency is a life-threatening event and can require urgent treatment. It’s essential to understand what dental issues to look out for. According to the American Dental Association (ADA)2, here are a few events that are considered dental emergencies:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding in the mouth
  • A soft tissue infection that compromises the patient’s airway
  • Facial bone trauma that compromises the patient’s breathing
  • Severe dental pain from inflammation
  • An abscess or localized bacterial infection
  • Tooth fracture causing extreme pain

Some of these issues may result in the need for urgent care or surgery. Getting routine checkups and having a dental insurance plan that helps cover emergency dental issues may help provide you peace of mind.

What To Do in a Dental Emergency

Every dental emergency is different, so there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. There are a few scenarios where it may make sense to go directly to the hospital and other situations where it’s best to go to your dentist as soon as possible. Below we’ve outlined what to do in a dental emergency, depending on the issue at hand.

A hospital trip typically makes more sense if something happens to your facial bones. This may look like a jaw injury— like a fracture, dislocation or a severe cut. Any issue that impacts your ability to breathe should also be immediately attended to at a hospital. If any of these events occur, it’s best to call 911 and get help as soon as possible.3

On the other hand, a dentist trip is better if you are in serious pain, but the issue is non-life-threatening. A few dental emergencies that require a trip to the office are a chipped tooth, knocked-out teeth, bleeding, or a decayed and abscessed tooth. As long you can breathe properly, a trip to the dentist would likely be all that is necessary.4

How Much Can Emergency Dental Care Cost Without Insurance?

Trips to the hospital and dentist to get emergency dental care without a dental insurance plan can add up quickly. For example, root canals are typically needed when deep tooth decay, cracked teeth, gum infection or severe facial trauma take place. Depending on the location and severity of the issue, the root canal procedure and necessary treatments on average can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,800.5

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How Dental Insurance Can Help Cover Emergency Dental Care

Some dental insurance plans help provide emergency coverage to help make emergency dental care costs more manageable. Depending on your location and medical history, Aflac offers a variety of benefits that can help cover expenses related to emergency dental procedures.

Additionally, getting regular dental care may help prevent an oral emergency from happening later.

Aflac Dental Insurance Can Help Cover Your Dental Emergency

You may be able to get help covering emergency dental care with one of our primary Aflac dental plans. If you already have a dental plan, we also offer supplemental dental insurance to help cover treatments and procedures that your primary provider didn’t fully cover. This can be especially helpful if a dental emergency catches you and your wallet by surprise.

Still have questions?

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