Theriot Family Dental

Are There Things an Emergency Dentist Cannot Do?

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I’ve seen an emergency dentist before, for an abscessed tooth that (of course) chose to flare up while I was on vacation. I was several states away from my regular dentist. That got me thinking: I spend upwards of three months at a time in my vacation state, and I really like the doctor I saw there. I’m thinking of making him my regular dentist. But, are there things an emergency dentist cannot do?


Dear Burt,

man holding his jaw in pain

Great question. Teeth do seem to have a special sense telling them when it will be the worst time to flare up, don’t they? I am glad you were able to get it sorted. I also hope you were able to enjoy the remainder of your vacation.

Most of the time, emergency dentists are just general dentists who are willing to treat non-established patients in the case of dental emergencies. At the time of the urgent care, they will only focus on your urgent needs, such as severe pain, a broken tooth, abscesses/infections, or broken/lost fillings, and the like. They may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to address pain, infection, or swelling. They may open and start a root canal on an infected tooth. They may replace broken or missing fillings. They may extract teeth that are broken, decayed, infected, or causing pain.

They won’t deal with typical dental care that is more preventative during these urgent appointments. However, as you like this dentist, you could switch to having your care done under him, which means you can have any of the normal care you’d need as well; just not during your emergency appointment. Bear in mind, if you have any special needs or desires, such as cosmetic work you want done or TMJ Disorder, you will want to make sure that he or she has the qualifications necessary to adequately provide those services for you.

I would simply speak to the dentist you went to see for your emergency and tell him how much you liked his office care and would like to be a regular patient.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. John Theirot.