Emergency Dental Care Increases in Down Economy

A recent survey by a dental statistics company investigated if emergencies increased during the recession.

They found as a result of the recession — and people deferring treatment for economic reasons almost two-thirds of dentists say they’ve seen an increase in emergency calls from existing or new patients.

In the current economy, the survey found that:

  • 63% of dentists say they have seen an increase in emergency treatment
  • 31% have noticed no change
  • 6% say calls for emergency care have actually decreased

Comments from other dentists in the survey included:

In a slow economy, patients are more likely to defer dental care. This, in turn, leads to more dental emergencies, lost teeth, etc.

“I see a many patients delaying treatment, and opting for less expensive treatment, but emergency care is still about the same.”

“Here in the rural Midwest, we are not seeing the downturn that the rest of the country is. We are more conservative and less debt ridden.”

“We’ve especially seen an increase in cracked teeth due to severe clenching from stress,” noted a California dentist.

Our Experience:

Our office has seen an increase in patients seeking emergency care. We too have seen an increase in fractured teeth. Many patients with cracked teeth may need functional crown lengthening to save them or extractions and dental implants. There are numerous problems associated with tooth loss – ugly smile, tooth drifting, loss of chewing efficiency, bone loss.We have also seen an increase in gum disease abscesses as well as lichen planus, a gum condition similar to psoriasis.  The increase in fractured teeth, gum disease, and lichen planus is more than likely related to stress from the recession.

Wearing a night guard to prevent grinding or clenching from cracking teeth may be helpful. Additionally maintaining good oral hygiene may help problems with gum disease and lichen planus.

Finally, regular preventive care and seeing your dentist on a regular basis may help prevent problems that otherwise could be avoided. We certainly do not want anyone to lose teeth. Long term delaying treatment may result in more expense and more tooth lose, so we advise taking care of your mouth.

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