What Are the Differences? Which Should You Choose?
When you’re having pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums, you typically want to see a dentist as soon as possible, as dental pain can be debilitating and affect virtually every aspect of your daily life. For treatment, there are a number of options. If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip-and-fall, or sports-related incident, you may seek treatment at a hospital or clinic. If your pain is the result of decay or other degenerative conditions, you may schedule an appointment with a dentist’s office. What’s the difference between hospital dentistry, as opposed to dental care in a clinic or office? Which facility should you choose?
What Is Hospital Dentistry?
As the term suggests, hospital dentistry is dental care provided in a hospital setting, typically as a component of more comprehensive care. Though dentistry and other medical practices have long been treated separately in the United States, that practice is starting to change in some respects. You might decide to receive dental care in a hospital for a number of reasons:
- You need routine dental surgery but you have another health condition that makes surgery risky, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or a respiratory or bacterial infection.
- You have catastrophic injuries, such as brain or spinal cord trauma, broken bones, or other conditions that require hospitalization, but you’ve also suffered dental trauma in a motor vehicle accident, fall, or sports injury.
- You require hospitalization for a serious health condition, such as cancer, joint replacement, stroke, or heart attack, but also need dental care and cannot leave the hospital for treatment
With hospital dentistry, you can expect dental professionals to work closely with other medical practitioners to ensure that all your health needs are properly addressed.
What Is a Dental Clinic?
A dental clinic offers basic care and services but may not provide certain specialized services. You will typically find all the appropriate tools and equipment for most common dental procedures and can expect to get a checkup, cleaning, filling, or even a root canal at a clinic, but it may not provide cosmetic care or orthodontics. Dental clinics may also be more likely to offer after-hours care, including evenings and weekends.
What Is a Dental Office?
A dental office may be a general practice, or it may specialize in certain types of care. Most dental offices have a clinical component that handles basic dental needs and that also provides more specialized treatment, such as teeth whitening or other cosmetic procedures. Dental offices tend to maintain traditional business hours.
Which Facility Is Right For You?
If you’re seriously hurt in a car crash, slip-and-fall, or athletic competition, you should seek any necessary dental treatment through the hospital. If you need basic dental care, a clinic may be sufficient, but if you require specialized dental procedures, you should try to find a dental office that can treat you.