Most of us can probably understand feeling worried or nervous about the idea of speaking to a dentist that you are not familiar with – especially when an emergency has arisen – but that cannot always be avoided as part of emergency dental service at most surgeries. If you are not registered with a clinic that provides twenty-four hour care, it is far more likely that you will be seen by a dentist that you have never met before – this does not mean that you are in danger of getting bad treatment or you surroundings are going to be unsafe compared to your regular dentist. The vast majority of dental professionals at an emergency clinic are going to be just as helpful and friendly as your normal dentist that you visit on a regular basis. Just because you don’t recognise them doesn’t mean you are not in safe hands.
How do emergency dentists operate?
Most emergency dental clinics will be open every hour of the day, even on public holidays and other festive seasons when most businesses would be closed to consumers; they will frequently operate as a normal surgery during the day, then remain open for emergency patients at night – those that arrange an appointment at short notice and others that just chose to arrive unannounced.
If you require immediate treatment, you don’t necessarily need to call beforehand – it is not expected of you at most clinics, but some people prefer to make the surgery aware of their situation, so that any preparations can be made beforehand or advice can be provided over the phone to try and make the symptoms less painful. There may be some dental clinics that have answering machines to help patients, rather than team members on the phones; however, as most patients who have experienced a dental emergency would prefer to speak to a person, not a machine, more and more surgeries are investing in twenty-four hour phone lines, so that this can be catered to.
The thing that a lot of people find worrying about emergency surgeries is that they will not be receiving treatment from their regular dental team that they are familiar with; however, it is worth remembering that all certified clinics in the UK will be staffed with a highly-qualified team of surgeons and nurses, who are prepared for all kinds of emergency situations – and will probably have a great deal of experience with many different circumstances. You don’t even need to be registered with the particular clinic in question, which is something that makes emergency dental surgeries vital and valuable in the UK.
When you arrive at the surgery, whatever time of day or night, you will be referred to a dentist as quickly as possible to get your teeth examined and the extent of the damage assessed; this gives the dentist an opportunity to determine what sort of treatment you need as early on as possible. The clinic will have all kinds of tools, equipment, and machinery at their disposal – a lot of which you probably would not find at your local dental surgery. Emergency surgeries have to be ready to perform any sort of treatment that is needed, including replacing knocked-out teeth or repairing implants that have been damaged. Depending on your particular condition, the dentist may choose to simply patch you up and deal with any immediate concerns – such as loose or twisted teeth – and make you more comfortable for the time being; then another appointment can be arranged for the next day when your condition is more stable. Dental trauma might be painful and can be frightening in some cases, but it is unlikely to pose a great risk to your health, so don’t worry if you are told to return the next day after basic treatment.
Do I need to fill in any paperwork?
If you are a new patient and you have never visited the surgery before, then you will be required to fill in a short healthcare assessment form before you can be admitted for treatment; this is because you are a new patient and none of your medical details will be on record for the team to refer to. Dentists need to know if you suffer from any health issues that could make surgery difficult or if you have undergone dental treatment in the recent past that might be relevant to your current condition. Make sure you are honest and accurate with your answers and provide all the information that you think might be helpful with your treatment, such as whether you have any allergies to medication or you are currently taking prescription drugs. This kind of questionnaire is normally quite simple to follow and easy to fill in, and it is used to cover both you and the surgery in case something goes wrong with your treatment – although that is unlikely if all the information provided is accurate. While you are completing the paperwork you may be given the opportunity to register permanently with the surgery – this would mean that you are more likely to speak to a team member you are familiar with if you should suffer dental trauma or require treatment at short notice in the future.
Before your treatment begins, all the relevant paperwork should be completed and your dentist should talk about what procedures you require; they should also provide you with a breakdown of the applicable costs. If for some reason you are not comfortable with the services on offer, you are free to look elsewhere for help – this is not a situation that arises frequently with reputable clinics but it is something to think about. Most certified surgeries will operate under strict guidelines, which means that they can provide the very highest level of service to all their patients – registered or unregistered.
For more information on emergency dental care or to speak to someone about the registration process, you should contact the Pearl Dental Clinic; this London surgery has a twenty-four hour emergency service available every day of the year. Get in touch if you need to make an appointment or you would like to know about the treatments they provide.