Emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time of the day, anywhere. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, accidents and injuries are a part of life. That is why it is quite a relief to know that for dental emergencies, there is a free emergency dentist available to help you solve any dental injury or mishap that you may encounter. But is it for real? What should I expect when thinking about getting the services of a free emergency dentist?
Free emergency dentist in my area?
Government hospitals all over Australia offer dental emergency services to their citizens. For instance, in Melbourne, the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne (RDHM) offers these free dental services as well as in other community dental clinics.
What conditions can a free emergency dentist treat?
You can associate a dental emergency with:
- Facial swelling
- Bleeding gums
- Accident causing damage to the tooth
- Pain in the mouth
What should I do if I am in need of a free emergency dentist?
When faced with an emergency, whether medical or dental in nature, it is important not to panic. Call the hotline or the number of the nearest community dental clinic and request for an emergency consultation. The call operators are trained to prioritise or triage the calls, so the case in need of faster action is placed on top of the list. They may give you advice on how to address your injury or dental emergency and apply dental first aid while waiting for your appointment.
Is a free emergency dentist available 24/7?
No, unfortunately. Most clinics open until 9:00 pm. The RDHM, for example, offers dental emergency care from 8:15 am to 9:15 pm on weekdays, and 8:45 am to 9:15 pm on weekends and public holidays. So, if your dental emergency happens outside of these service hours, you may either avail of the dental services of private emergency dentists or go directly to the nearest hospital for temporary relief until your regular dentist can see you.
What are the limitations of getting the services of a free emergency dentist?
Time limitation. As mentioned earlier, they are not available 24/7.
Waiting time. Because a lot of people would want to avail the services of a free emergency dentist, you can expect a long waiting time.
Eligibility. Patients who are children ages 0-12 years old, teens 13-17 years old with health care cards or are dependents of concession card holders, elderly with pension cards, and other priority groups such as the refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, youths who are in out-of-home care provided by the government, patients with mental illness, and other patients who want to seek treatment from undergraduate students are the ONLY ones eligible for the services of a free emergency dentist.
Patients who have health care or pension concession cards get discounts on their emergency dental care. Different fees are allotted per state, and any additional dental procedure to be performed may incur other expenses.
Taking care of your teeth, though most of the time expensive, is an essential part of our overall health. Taking advantage of discounted services such as those offered by a free emergency dentist can help in the overall maintenance of our dental and oral health. Inquire about your privileges to be aware of the dental benefits that you are entitled with.