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.
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:
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.
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
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
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Help cover yourself and your family with affordable coverage from Aflac.
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.
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.
Explore your dental insurance options.
1 Investopedia - 4 Important Steps for Choosing Dental Insurance. Updated May 31, 2021. Accessed Oct 5, 2021. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/120914/4-important-steps-choosing-dental-insurance.asp.
2 ADA - What Constitutes a Dental Emergency. Updated Mar 30, 2021. Accessed Oct 5, 2021. https://success.ada.org/~/media/CPS/Files/Open%20Files/ADA_COVID19_Dental_Emergency_DDS.pdf.
3-4 Verywell Health - Should I Go to a Hospital or a Dentist for My Dental Emergency. Updated Mar 22, 2021. Accessed Oct 5, 2021. https://www.verywellhealth.com/dental-emergency-go-to-the-hospital-or-see-a-dentist-1059301.
5 New Mouth - Cost of a Root Canal Without Insurance and With Insurance. Updated Sep 27, 2021. Accessed Oct 5, 2021. https://www.newmouth.com/blog/root-canal-without-insurance/.
Content within this article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal or financial advice regarding any specific situation. Coverage may not be available in all states, including but not limited to NY. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on state and plan levels. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. Policies/riders have limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. For complete details, including availability and costs, please contact your local Aflac agent.
Aflac dental insurance coverage from the 2020 pilot launch is underwritten by National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL). National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not a member of the Aflac family of insurers. National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not affiliated with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America a/k/a The Guardian or Guardian Life. Aflac dental products may not be available in all states. National Guardian Life Insurance Company | Madison, WI.
For all states that have approved the Aflac dental insurance products, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac. In New York, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac New York.
Aflac WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.
Please see coverage documentation applicable to your situs state for further details.
Notice to Consumer: This is a limited benefit plan and provides dental benefits only. Aflac’s contracts of insurance, including Aflac’s network dental and vision plans, provide limited-scope and/or supplemental benefits only and do not constitute comprehensive health insurance coverage. Aflac’s contracts of insurance do not satisfy the requirement of minimum essential coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are not designed to meet any of the essential health benefit requirements mandated by the ACA or federal law, including pediatric oral or vision care services. Aflac’s contracts of insurance are not an alternative to, or a substitute for, comprehensive health insurance coverage and should only be used to supplement comprehensive health insurance coverage.
For Network Dental, applies to Policy Series QN81000. In Arkansas, policy form QN81100MAR. In Idaho, QN81100MID. In Oklahoma, policy form QN81100MOK. In Oregon, policy form QN81100MOR and QN81100MORS. In Pennsylvania, QN81100MPA. In Texas, policy form QN81100MTX.
Individual Supplemental Dental insurance coverage is underwritten by Aflac. Group Supplemental Dental insurance coverage is underwritten by Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated. CAIC is not licensed to solicit business in New York, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. For groups sitused in California, group coverage is underwritten by Continental American Life Insurance Company. For individual coverage in New York or coverage for groups sitused in New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999. Continental American Insurance Company | Columbia, South Carolina. Plans and availability vary by state.
For Group supplemental dental plans, policy series CAI1100. In Arkansas, Policy CAI1100AR. In Idaho, Policy CAI1101ID, In New York, Policy AF1100NY. In Oklahoma, Policy CAI1100OK, In Oregon, Policy CAI1100 OR. In Pennsylvania, Policy CAI1100PA. In Texas, Policy CAI1100TX. In Virginia, Policy CAI1100VA.