Dental Emergency Statistics

All over the world, dental clinics keep after hours open for emergency appointments. A tooth can become suddenly infected, and trauma and damage can leave your tooth open to all sorts of problems and you will experience pain.

That is the main reason why these appointments are kept open, not because of the frequency of emergency appointments, but because when an emergency happens, you will need a certain fix as soon as possible. Dentists understand the debilitating nature of toothache and how bad an infection or an impacted wisdom tooth can get, how much pain it can cause, and this is precisely why emergency appointments are left open for patients. I would like, in this article, to give an idea of the statistics relating to emergency appointments, how often and for what sort of procedures folks went to the dentist in haste for. 

Emergency Statistics

In this article, the population of the USA was the main focus, but I believe that the statistics gained from this review reflect the larger patterns across the globe. After all, there are only so many ways in which a tooth can become painful, and only so many procedures that can be performed in order to save or remove the tooth in question. 

One of the most interesting pieces of information is how 23% of all emergency appointments, almost one third of them, were on teeth that have previously been filled, caped or had some form of dental work done on them previously. At a glance this may seem like the fault of dentists or of dentistry, when in reality, this is far from the case. Once a tooth becomes structurally compromised, it becomes thin, loses enamel, the filling warps, changes shape and becomes smaller than it was, and this lets the infection occur again. The same mechanisms of chewing and coming into contact with food that caused the initial cavity or infection are likely to cause a resurgence of the same problem, in the same place.

Another interesting statistic is that one in six Americans experienced a dental emergency. This is a huge number, and tells us an interesting fact about the nature of dental emergencies. They come very quickly, often a bite into something hard, a slip up, a sudden exposure to hot or cold are enough to trigger a dramatic response that needs immediate care. This is something to consider for everyone, I believe. 


Although dental emergencies cause a lot of pain and can be literally debilitating, it is an interesting statistic that only 67% of Americans decided to go and seek a dentist when this pain occurred. This is largely due to the fact that Americans do not have universal health care, and they need to pay for any and every medical procedure, and if there is no money, they simply will not be seen by a dentist. To us in Europe who live under the beneficial auspices of such bodies as the NHS, this may seem absurd, but denial of medical care to certain classes of people is a reality that most Americans have to face. But can this fact alone explain it? I think it is doubtful, and dentophobia also plays a key role in this statistic. 

The most obvious solution is to go to your half year checkups, regardless of whether or not you perceive a problem being present. If a dentist can see you, they can make sure that cavities and infections do not develop later on, which will make you less likely to be a victim of a dental emergency. Of course, accidents still happen, you can still receive trauma, but I think it is a good idea to control what you can, and minimize the risk as much as possible.