Dentist vs. Doctor: Who To See for Tooth Troubles

Posted on January 16, 2014 in General oral health

Do you have pulsing pain in your tooth that won't go away? Don't go to an emergency room – see a dentist. It's cost-effective and a better treatment option. But a lot of Americans aren’t listening to that advice.

In a study titled, Costly Dental Destination, released last year by the Pew Center of the States, more than 830,500 ER visits by Americans in 2009 were to seek treatment for preventable dental conditions, a 16% increase from 2006. The study concluded that states could reduce hospital visits and improve oral health by increasing their investments in preventive dental care.

The problem? Uninsured people don't seek regular preventive dental care. In 2009, for example, 56% of children enrolled in Medicaid received no dental care. And that can lead to expensive ER visits.

Even more, the ER can't do anything for a toothache but give you pain medication and send you to a dentist. What started out as a $200 toothache turned into a $1000 ER visit.

To avoid a dental emergency, take care of your teeth. Brush and floss daily and see your dentist regularly. If you have a dental emergency, see your dentist. You'll save money and get better care.