Dentist: ‘Dental emergencies do not belong in the ER’


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dentists are seeing a trend across the country. More and more patients with dental emergencies are heading to hospital emergency rooms.

“This is a terrible time to step into some of these urgent care areas,” Dr. Vu Quach, a dentist at Castle Dental said.

At present, with the coronavirus pandemic, some dentists have decided to close. That’s left some with aching mouths confused on where to turn, with some thinking an ER or urgent care is the best option, but Quach said that’s not the case.

“Their treatment is really limited,” Quach said.

On average, every 15 seconds, someone visits an ER for a dental issue, according to The American Dental Association. That translated to more than 2 million hospital visits in 2017 nationwide — costing $2.7 billion.

Quach said the goal is to prevent that in an effort to preserve personal protective equipment.

“Dental emergencies don’t belong in the ER,” he said. “Imagine all that PPE they’re going through because if they’re seeing these patients they’re gloving up, they’re masking up just to check up on a toothache.”

Quach said if you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation, it’s best to call around, and keep calling around, until you find a dental office that can treat your problem. He said his offices at Castle Dental remain open during the pandemic.

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