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What sort of dentist handles dental emergencies?

All dentists are trained to handle dental emergencies, however there are a wide range dental and facial conditions that can be considered an "emergency". The most urgent of "emergencies" are caused by trauma resulting in tooth fracture, avulsion (tooth falling out of the socket), subluxation (tooth moving in the socket into a different position) and or facial lacerations (cuts) and fractures of the alveolar or jaw bones. These emergencies are best handled by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and or a dentist with a one year hospital based (general practice residency) training. In the case of such emergencies in children, pediatric dentists also have additional trainig and experience to properly treat such emergency conditions. When going to a hospital emergency room it is important to assure there will an appropriately trained dental provider on call.      
Just about all dentists handle emergencies. But this is relative -- if you are in an accident and go to the hospital, it's likely other areas of your body will get treated first.

That said, emergencies that we do handle in office may include a tooth breaking, a filling falling out, a bridge or crown failing, an abscess/infection, or similar. In fact, we typically emergencies quite often (if you've ever had to wait for a bit in the waiting room, you can bet an emergency came in earlier; however, we'll extend you the same courtesy if you need to come in for an emergency as well.)
All dentists are trained to handle dental emergencies. Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children and many emergency departments have dentists on-call. In the case of natural disasters, a dental emergency responder may be a dentist or a dental hygienist authorized to act under the supervision of a dentist.
Most general dentists handle dental emergencies. Of course, depending on the situation referrals may be made to an oral surgeon, endodontist, periodontist or other specialist for care that requires specialty evaluation and treatment.

Dental emergencies may involve a variety of problems with a range of complexities. Often patients may feel that "it's just a tooth" and therefore any dentist can treat the problem. This is not always the case. Therefore, if you are referred, it is important to understand that your care is being considered.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.