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5201 Corporate Center Ct. SE, Lacey, WA 98503
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(360) 459-4420
5201 Corporate Center Ct. SE
Lacey, WA 98503

Lacey Emergency Dentistry

Woman holding cheek in painYou probably know just what to do if you have a broken arm. You would go to the emergency room or contact emergency services right away. What if your emergency is oral health related? Some patients say they would wait until the dental office was open to call or even wait until their next dental appointment, and others say they would still go to the emergency room. At Peterson & Cammack Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we have a better option – call our Lacey dental team. In most cases, we can see patients experiencing an emergency on the same day they call us. If we can’t see you right away, one of our knowledgeable team members will walk you through how to care for your smile until you reach our office.

What Situations are Considered Emergencies?

If you think it’s necessary for us to see you right away, we trust your opinion! Even if we determine that you don’t need to be seen immediately, it’s always best to start repairing damaged smiles as soon as possible, so please don’t hesitate to call. When you call our office during a dental emergency, we can help you assess your situation and start planning to fully repair your smile. Some of those situations that we treat most often as emergencies include the following:

Woman holding cheek in pain
  • Broken teeth or dental restorations
  • Lost teeth or dental restorations
  • Broken or bent partials and full dentures
  • Severe toothache or dental sensitivity
  • Signs of infection in the gums and soft tissue
  • Foreign items stuck between teeth
  • Soft tissue lacerations

What Should I do During a Dental Emergency?

The first thing you should do is call the Lacey dentist and dentistry team at Peterson & Cammack Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. One of our knowledgeable team members will be happy to walk you through first aid and pain management steps over the phone. Some basics you can keep in mind include:

Woman holding cheek in pain
  • Use cool water to rinse out your mouth and clean off any knocked out teeth or parts of teeth. Don’t rub, scrub, or apply oral hygiene products unless you are specifically instructed to do so.
  • Apply gentle pressure using gauze or clean cloth to slow any bleeding.
  • If you have a tooth knocked out, attempt to replace the tooth in the socket. If that’s not possible, store the knocked out tooth in a container of water or milk until you reach our office.
  • Use ice packs at 20 minute intervals (20 on and 20 off) to slow bleeding, relieve pain, and prevent swelling.
  • Take over the counter pain relievers as directed, but don’t apply them directly to the damaged area.

Can I Prevent Emergencies?

In many cases, dental emergencies can’t be avoided. Even the most careful patients can experience dental damage and tooth decay. There are some things you can do to minimize your risk to experience dental emergencies, including:

Woman holding cheek in pain
  • Brush twice a day and floss at least once each day
  • Visit our office twice a year for dentistry services
  • Avoid using teeth as tools to open packages or crack nuts
  • Don’t chew on hard objects like ice, fingernails, or pen caps
  • Wear protective mouthguards during sports events and to avoid damage caused by nighttime teeth grinding and clenching
  • Stop tobacco use of all kinds

Understanding the Cost of Emergency Dentistry

An older man holding his cheek because of the intense pain he’s experiencing as a result of a toothache

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, so pinpointing how much you can expect to pay will only be possible once Dr. Peterson or Dr. Cammack examine your particular problem. From antibiotics to customized restorations to permanent tooth replacement, the range of treatments vary, which means the cost will as well. This is why a consultation with a member of our team is necessary. Not only will we be able to identify the issue, but we can recommend appropriate treatment and provide a cost estimate to help you feel more confident and comfortable with your plan.

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Every Dental Emergency is Different

A dentist and dental assistant examining a female patient’s mouth after enduring a dental emergency

At Peterson & Cammack Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our team is here to deliver timely treatment when you need it most. Because every dental emergency is different, you can expect us to thoroughly examine your smile, recommend a solution, and map out what you can expect to pay. Depending on the severity of your problem, you might be required to undergo one or more of the most common treatments:

  • A tooth extraction
  • A custom-made dental crown
  • Root canal therapy
  • Antibiotics

Taking Care of Your Smile Can Save You Money

A young female smiles, showing off her healthy, damage-free teeth

Is tripping over your child’s bike in the driveway preventable? Not always. Is a toothache that develops as a result of poor oral hygiene something that is avoidable? Absolutely. It is true there are instances where dental emergencies are unavoidable; however, in many cases, you can take additional steps to safeguard your smile. One of the most important ways to keep from seeing an emergency dentist is to maintain good oral health.

Brushing, flossing, and rinsing are necessary components to keeping your teeth and gums free of decay and disease. Not to mention, you’ll want to combine these at-home habits with regular dental checkups and cleanings by Dr. Peterson or Dr. Cammack. By taking control of your oral hygiene, you’ll minimize the chances of infection and the possibility of a root canal, tooth extraction, and necessary tooth replacement, all of which can be increasingly costly over time.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Emergencies?

An up-close view of an insurance coverage information document and a pair of glasses

You’ll be pleased to learn that most dental insurance companies will agree to pay a portion of your emergency visit. You may even discover that you have one emergency exam covered by your insurer! But before you assume this is the case, it is best to check with your insurance company ahead of time.

The type of insurance plan you have will determine how much you can expect them to pay. Most companies will agree to cover 50-80% of the total cost, depending on the type of restorative treatment you will need. This is one of the added benefits of enrolling in a dental insurance plan whether it is through your employer or on your own. This will allow you to keep more money in your pocket should you face a crisis.

Other Options for Making Dental Emergencies Affordable

If dental insurance is not an option for you, do not worry! Drs. Peterson and Cammack also accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. They are also pleased to work with CareCredit, which is a third-party financing company that offers flexible payment plans for eligible individuals who need to break up the cost of treatment to stay within a budget. Our team will work with you to identify a method of payment that is right for you.

The team at Peterson & Cammack Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is here when you need us. No matter if you’re visiting for a standard checkup or needing immediate care for a knocked-out tooth, we’re here to deliver timely, appropriate, and affordable care, so you can return to enjoying life with a healthier, complete smile.

Dental Emergency FAQs

A tooth and a medical kit

At Peterson & Cammack Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know that when emergencies arise, you want solutions immediately. An emergency dentist in Lacey is here to help you navigate your dental emergency whether it means getting you in to see us immediately or walking you through the steps you can take at home until we can see you. Our team of expert dental professionals has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about dental emergencies to help give you peace of mind should a problem occur. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have additional questions or concerns.

What Should I Do About the Pain I’m Experiencing?

Tooth or mouth pain of any kind is an unwelcome feeling. When pain associated with a dental emergency occurs, take an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate some of the discomfort, if possible. But, remember to call our office first. It is imperative that we know the situation and how much pain you are in. If severe enough, you will need to come in to see one of our skilled dental professionals as soon as possible.

What Should I Do If I Experience a Dental Emergency While Out of Town?

Waiting until you return to seek help is most certainly not a good idea. Instead, if you suddenly find yourself dealing with a dental emergency while on vacation or out of town on business, get to a local dental office as quickly as possible. This will allow you to receive immediate care and return to your normal activity as soon as possible. Make sure to contact our office and alert us to the situation. If necessary, we may recommend that you come in when you return to allow Dr. Peterson or Dr. Cammack to examine your problem area and make sure no additional treatment is needed.

If My Pain Stops, Should I Still Come in for an Appointment?

Yes! While pain is often the most prominent sign that something is wrong, it won’t always present itself when a problem occurs. If your discomfort begins to dissipate, this is a good thing; however, it does not mean you should call and cancel your appointment. Make sure you keep your time slot and let our team examine your smile. It is common for issues to exist beneath the surface, hidden from the naked eye, but with digital X-Rays and specialized equipment, we can easily identify if an infection or other problem is developing. This will allow us to begin treatment quickly and put your oral health back on track.

When Should I Go to the Hospital vs. the Dentist?

This is probably one of the most common questions. If it’s an emergency, you often think of the emergency room as the go-to place; however, when it comes to the mouth, dental professionals are often better equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to address these kinds of injuries. Unfortunately, not all mouth-related injuries are best treated by a dentist.  

To determine whether you should go to the hospital or your dentist, here are a few scenarios that will point you in the direction of your local ER:

  • You continue to bleed for 15 minutes or more after applying pressure.
  • Your jaw is fractured, broken, or dislocated.
  • There are lacerations to your face that require stitches.
  • A tooth has been knocked out and you’re unable to see us within an hour.
  • Swelling is not going down, or you have an abscessed tooth or a severe toothache that requires antibiotics immediately.

Why Is It Important to Address a Dental Emergency Immediately? 

Injuries to the mouth are nothing to put off. You wouldn’t brush off a sprained or fractured ankle, would you? So why would you wait to see a dentist for a broken or knocked-out tooth? It is up to the dentist to determine how severe the injury is and how it can be treated, but they can’t do that if you don’t call and alert us to the problem.

If we cannot see you immediately, we will offer instructions and steps to take at home that will keep you comfortable until we can get you in, or we will instruct you to visit your local emergency room. A dental emergency that is left untreated could mean years and years of dental work in your future, in an attempt to fix a problem that could be remedied in a matter of minutes or hours.

Will My Dental Insurance Cover My Dental Emergency?

How much your dental insurance will agree to cover depends on the type of restorative treatment you receive. If Dr. Peterson or Dr. Cammack recommend a dental crown, filling, tooth extraction, or root canal therapy, each of these will fall into different categories of major or minor services. Depending on how your insurance policy is drafted, you will likely pay anywhere from 20-30% for minor procedures or 30-50% for major procedures. Before moving forward with treatment, make sure you contact your dental insurance company and find out how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for your necessary dental care.