Here you’ll find some of our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, feel free to contact us and we’ll try to help!
Not at Houston Emergency Dental Care USA. Unlike some family practices or so-called emergency dentists, we do not have any additional fees or surcharges to be seen on weekends or even holidays. Our offices have the same competitive rates every day.
Probably not. ER doctors, surgeons, and physicians cannot practice dentistry, and it is extremely rare to find an ER or urgent care center with an emergency dentist on call. In most cases, a visit to the emergency room or an urgent care center will result in a prescription for some painkillers and/or antibiotics. The emergency room staff will tell you to visit a dentist as soon as possible, and then hand you a bill.
In some extreme (yet very rare) cases, a tooth infection can spread and become a very serious health problem. To avoid an unexpected trip to the ER for a toothache, you should see a dentist once you begin to experience pain. Toothaches almost never disappear on their own, so even if the pain is manageable, you should see the dentist before the problem compounds and becomes more painful and expensive to remedy.
If you have experienced trauma to your face or have not yet taken antibiotics, you may want to consider the ER or urgent care centers. Antibiotics can reduce the swelling, which may be necessary before a dentist can perform any treatment. But you have been warned – it will not be cheap, and it is not a permanent solution!
View our graphical explanation of root canal therapy here.
Many people dread root canals, because they don’t understand what the procedure is, or how much pain is involved. So what is a root canal?
To help you understand, look at teeth as living things. Living teeth have three layers. The outer layer is the enamel, and under that is the dentin. The innermost segment is a chamber and a network of canals in which are nerves and blood vessels. These canals are within the roots of the tooth, which are embedded in the jawbone.
A root canal, or RCT, becomes necessary when the nerves and blood system within the canals of the tooth becomes infected or is damaged by trauma. The most common reason for a root canal is infection – decay enters the tooth and gets into the chamber which contains the blood supply and nerves. Or there’s trauma: you were in a car accident, got hit with a baseball or got into a fight. Sometimes even excessive grinding and clenching of teeth can cause enough trauma, leading to teeth becoming non-vital.
The root canal procedure begins with the dentist removing the infected or traumatized portions of the tooth. The canals and pulp chamber are cleaned with tiny files as well as medicaments to disinfect the area. Root canal therapy on molars can take some time because there are more canals, sometimes difficult to access, and sometimes curved.
Once the canals are completely cleaned, disinfected, and free of infection, the dentist dries them out and fills them with gutta-percha – a rubber like compound.
Finally, a crown or like restoration is usually placed on the tooth to strengthen the tooth.
If you’re having continual mouth pain or discomfort, here are some steps to take to resolve the problem, or at least provide some temporary toothache relief until getting to the dentist:
- Brush and floss your teeth to remove food fragments on and in-between your teeth. Rinse with warm water.
- You may take aspirin for the pain, should NOT put an aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth. This can burn and cause damage to the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call to see a dentist as soon as possible.
- It is important to know that persistent toothache pain may temporarily subside, but will usually return until the underlying problem has been addressed. Failure to treat these problems in a timely manner may lead to further deterioration and more costly treatment.
If you lose a filling, call to get in to a dentist at the soonest available time. In the meanwhile, there are a couple of short-term remedies you can try. Inquire at your pharmacy, and pick up some over-the-counter dental cements available to use as a temporary stop gap.
For an even shorter term remedy, you may also use sugar-free gum to cover the cavity. Be sure it is sugar free gum, because any sugar entering the cavity can cause severe pain.
Cavities left untreated can develop into more serious problems, including loss of the tooth.
No, we do not currently offer any coupons, discounts or free dental care. Special offers and promotions may periodically be available at other locations.
The enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest part of your body. Despite their strength, your teeth may fracture or fall out during extreme circumstances. Tooth decay increases the chances of a broken or chipped tooth.
If you have a chipped, fractured or broken tooth, you may or may not be experiencing discomfort. Even if pain is not present, it is important to see a dentist right away. The internal and delicate areas of the tooth may now be exposed to the bacteria in the mouth. Left unprotected, this could quickly lead to new or increased decay, and ultimately result in loss of tooth or root canal therapy.
If your tooth is knocked out, get the tooth and seek emergency dental care. Teeth can often be implanted after being knocked out; however, time is critical. A permanent tooth that’s been knocked out has the best chance of being re-implanted within 30 minutes of the incident. If you cannot see an emergency dentist, you should visit the ER.
Emergency Dental Care USA of SE Houston accepts most dental insurance plans on an indemnity basis. This means that we contact your insurance provider to determine your coverage, co-pay and out-of-pocket costs. Since we are not contracted with any specific insurance providers, you pay your co-pay or out-of-pocket cost before we perform any procedures.
If for some reason we cannot contact your insurance company, you can pay for the treatment out-of-pocket, and your insurance company will reimburse you within a few weeks.
The amount covered by insurance can vary depending on the type of treatment and the type of insurance that you have. Our staff will determine your out-of-pocket costs, and if necessary help you secure financing. We will always communicate the total out-of-pocket cost before any treatment begins.
If you should get a piece of food or any small object wedged between your teeth, first try to gently remove the object with dental floss. Never use anything sharp like a pin around your teeth as it may cut your gums or damage your tooth. If it can’t be removed by dental floss, contact a dentist for advice or to schedule an appointment.