Emergency tooth extraction – How serious is it?

No doubt about it! You are probably feeling some discomfort, or you wouldn’t be reading this article! If you are experiencing pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or inflammation, you may need to have emergency tooth extraction.

Keep in mind that you should seek immediate medical treatment if you have an infection that cannot be managed by nonprescription medicines, or if you develop chills, vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea. These are not symptoms to be ignored. You must also seek immediate care if you have difficulty breathing or swallowing.

The procedure for having a tooth extracted, as well as any post-treatment, varies based on you individual circumstances.

Where can I have an emergency tooth extraction?
This is an easy question to answer if you already have a dentist, but if you don’t have a dentist (or insurance!) this can be stressful.

In most cases, you can’t visit an emergency room and expect them to extract your tooth. Normally, they will give you pain medication and/or antibiotics, but they won’t actually perform the extraction.

And, even if you have a dentist, it may require a referral to an oral surgeon. Many dentists won’t extract a tooth that is impacted. However, if you have a regular dentist, you should make an appointment immediately, as they will be able to recommend an appropriate oral surgeon.

If you don’t have a dentist, consider purchasing dental insurance or a dental discount program, which will 1) Save you money, and 2) Provide some assistance finding a dentist in your area who can help you.

One thing to know is that insurance companies have standards that providers must meet in order to participate in their network. This can offer some peace of mind that you are dealing with a qualified provider.

How much does an emergency tooth extraction cost?
Well, it depends!

If it is a simple extraction, which means the tooth is fully erupted, and the tooth doesn’t have deep roots, expect to pay between $100 – $150.

If it is a surgical extraction, which means an incision needs to be made in your gums, and then the cost can range between $200 and $600.

A wisdom emergency tooth extraction runs between $150 – $300 if the tooth is fully erupted from the gum. If not, expect the cost to be between $350 – $650.

Now, if you have insurance, you need to check your plan. Most plans will pay a percentage of the cost (also called coinsurance). Your share of the cost can range from 20% to 50%, depending on your coverage.

I have no insurance- What do I do?
Don’t panic yet! There are still options. You can purchase insurance or dental discount plans. These plans might not pay 100% of the cost, but they accomplish two things:

1) Dentists agree to charge lower rates when they contract with an insurance company;

2) You’ll get some discount from the lower negotiated rate.

So, let’s say the dentist would charge $500 if you walked in without any insurance or discount program. You would need to come up with $500 to have your emergency tooth extraction completed.

Buying coverage or purchasing a discount program might mean the dentist has contracted to charge only $400. Even if the coverage only pays 50%, you still are out of pocket for $200, instead of the $500 if you walked in and made an appointment with no coverage.

We review possible discount programs in detail. If you don’t have coverage, we encourage you to review this Dental Plan information.

What happens during an emergency tooth extraction?

The procedure for an emergency tooth extraction depends heavily on your particular circumstances. A simple extraction is usually done when the tooth is not impacted, and can simply be grabbed with forceps for removal. If the tooth is impacted, then it is necessary to cut the gums, which is a more invasive procedure.

In either case, your dentist will utilize the appropriate anesthesia for your procedure. You may feel some pressure during the procedure, but you shouldn’t experience any pain.

You should also receive post-treatment care instructions from your dentist. The healing process can take some time – one to two weeks. It is important to keep you socket irrigated, and to avoid things that could dislodge the blood clot that forms where your tooth was extracted (this is called dry socket). Your dentist may tell you to avoid hot foods, and to avoid commercial mouthwashes and vigorous rinsing or spitting.

You will need to take it easy for a couple of days after an emergency tooth extraction – no heavy exercise, and if you smoke, you should avoid this as much as possible.

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