Dental Emergency: No Insurance and Toothaches Fill the ER

Are you delaying dental care due to cost? A recent report suggests just how painful, and costly this decision could be due to the increasing number of individuals with no dental insurance in the United States, more people are getting emergency dental care at the ER.

According to a recent report released by the Pew Center on the States, preventable dental conditions were the primary diagnoses in 830,590 visits to ERs nationwide in 2009 – a 16% increase from 2006.

This means that what could have been a $200 filling at the dentist is now a $1,200 emergency root canal.

Here are some additional dental emergency findings from the report:

  • Florida: More than 115,000 hospital ER visits for dental problems produced charges exceeding $88 million in 2010.
  • New York: The average charge per emergency visit for young children with dental ailments increased from $18.5 million to more than $31 million during a recent five-year span.
  • Washington: A trip to the ER was the first “dental visit” for one in four children overall.
  • Illinois: From 2008 to 2011, hospitals in the Chicago metropolitan area had nearly 77,000 emergency patient visits for non-injury, dental-related ailments.
  • North Carolina: In 2009, there were more than 69,000 ER visits due primarily to disorders of the teeth or jaw. These conditions were the 10th common reason for emergency trips in the state.


What Can You Do?

To prevent a high-cost dental emergency run to the ER, here are 4 low-cost dental insurance alternatives to help you get the dental care you need:

  1. Discount Dental Plans: These plans offer savings from 10% to 60% on most dental care procedures for one low annual payment. offers more than 30 of the leading discount dental plans in the nation.
  2. Dental Schools: Local dental schools offer preventive dental care to the public by supervised students for free or at discounted prices. Remember, taking care of your teeth before it turns into a problem is key.
  3. Free Clinics/Health Centers: Based on an individual’s ability to pay for dental care, these community programs also offer discounted or free services. Check for listings of free dental clinic events in your area.
  4. Pro-Bono Dentistry: If you can’t afford dental work, ask your dentist if he or she does pro bono work for needy patients. You’ll never know unless you ask.

Find out more about :DentalPlans by calling our :DP AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.



Have you been putting off going to the dentist due to cost? Let us know in the comments section below.



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