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Understanding the Difference between Dental Urgency and a True Dental Emergency in Peterborough

Being an emergency dentist in Peterborough isn’t easy in the best of times, but the worst can be when an emergency occurs in the middle of regular office hours when there are other patients waiting.  Our policy is to prioritize the health of our patients.  If someone has had a true emergency occur, we’re going to treat them ahead of someone who, for example, is just coming in for a cleaning.

However, one issue that sometimes comes up is when someone comes in saying they’re having a dental emergency when it’s really not a true emergency.  We understand, a dental problem can be quite painful and you want it taken care of ASAP – but emergency situations go well beyond simply being painful.

So we wanted to talk briefly about what truly constitutes a dental emergency, as opposed to simply being dental urgency.

How you’re Emergency Dentist in Peterborough Classifies Dental Emergencies

There are a lot of different conditions which can constitute a dental emergency, but most of the time, what they hinge on is this:  Time is of the essence.  A failure to act immediately would endanger the health -or possibly even the life- of the patient.

Here are a few examples of cases that would qualify:

  • A tooth has been dislodged due to head trauma, but came out with the root intact.  In such cases, the tooth can usually be replaced without the need for false teeth, but only if it’s put back in its socket quickly.  Too long out of the head and the tooth dies.
  • Severe fractures.  In worst-case scenarios, a blow to the head can knock the teeth severely out of position and\or fracture them, to the point they’re actively cutting into the patient’s gums or other soft tissue.  This is a huge health hazard which must be taken care of ASAP.
  • Any situation where bone is showing.  Any laceration or injury down to the bone is risking nerve damage and\or severe secondary infection.  Again, any delay could significantly impact the patient’s long term health.

Compared to situations like these, an abscessed tooth or broken crown simply is not in the same league.  They can be extremely painful, to be sure, but the pain and swelling can be managed in the short-term with ice or over-the-counter medicines like Ibuprofen.  Another hour or two won’t make any real difference to the patient’s long-term situation.

That said, we’re aware that everyone’s time is valuable.  That’s why we offer:

The Fifteen Minute Guarantee

Simply put:  If you ever have an appointment with us and that appointment is delayed by more than fifteen minutes, we’ll give you a $25 discount off your bill.

That’s how we balance our work as an emergency dentist in Peterborough with the needs of all our other patients.  We don’t want you to have to wait, but in the rare case it’s necessary, we want to make sure you’re compensated.

Do you have other emergency dental questions?  Just contact us and ask!

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