In an ideal world you may think that the professions of a Doctor and a Dentist would be quite separate. For one is prepared for illnesses of the body and mind, whilst the other is ready to treat illnesses in regards to teeth and gums. However, these illnesses can overlap and you can be left in a tricky situation in regards to which one of these specialists you should go to in a dental emergency. This list will shed some clarity on this issue, so you know precisely how to handle these trickiest of dental problems.
Why would I choose a Doctor instead of a Dentist?
Naturally when you think of teeth you would associate their healthcare with a dentist. However, in 2016, The Times claimed that the NHS was spending more than £26 million a year on GP appointments in regards to dental appointments. This is the equivalent of 600,000 consultations a year!With long term waiting lists for dental appointments, most find that they may be turned away when faced with an emergency, thus refer to their GP instead. It is also far cheaper to see a Doctor who is funded by the NHS, rather than receiving a dental check up costing around £19.70 per visit. In an emergency, it is always best to visit a specialist as quickly as possible, so be sure to research into your condition, depending on your health, before contacting the appropriate health advisor.
When approaching a Doctor’s appointment, many are trained to deal with specific ailments of the body. However, as Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of the BDA’s general practice, says “GPs are neither trained nor equipped to deal with these problems, particularly those that require an operative intervention.” Whilst GP’s can offer you pain killers and a reason behind your ailment, they cannot carry out surgical procedures to solve the problem. For instance, if you have an abscess then your doctor can provide you with a prescription for anti-biotics, but cannot undertake surgery to have it removed. Thus, to make sure you get treated as effectively as possible, it is always important to go a dental specialist,
Dental Emergencies, such as abscesses, broken teeth and inflammation, should certainly not be left to develop over a long period of time. However, if you are suffering from a Viral Oral Infection, then you may want to consider looking into a doctor over a dentist, as these tend to be a problem of the immune system, rather than of the teeth and gums. Doctors can prescribe medication to ease the problem, however may also recommend seeing a dentist if any procedures are required to fix observed tooth problems.
It is important to judge your problem based on your symptoms and to consider which specialist can help you to the best of their ability, as they will consider your emergency on a symptom basis. You do not want to waste their time and instead focus on being treated as fast as possible.