When a dentist delivers care to a patient that doesn’t treat the underlying cause of the problem but only relieves pain, then that treatment is known as palliative care. The problem has not been addressed directly; only the symptom of pain has. This means the patient will have to come back for treatment another day.
This generally occurs when the mouth is severely swollen and the dentist cannot treat the problem due to that swelling being in the way. So, the dentist will offer palliative care to alleviate some of the swelling and pain and reschedule the patient for treatment at a later date, when the swelling should have subsided.
Another instance of palliative care would occur if there is a chipped tooth and the dentist only smooths the edge of the tooth instead of applying filler material to reshape it. This tends to happen when either the patient or the dentist is rushed for time or the necessary supplies are not on hand. The proper and complete procedure can be administered at a later date, when there is a better chance that the dentist will have all the time and resources necessary to do the job properly.
If you find a dentist who falls under the title of emergency dentist, then it is possible that they will offer palliative care at times, since they are not your regular dentist. This dentist may give you some minor treatment to deal with the pain until your regular dentist, who is more familiar with your circumstances and dental records, is able to treat you properly.
You can find a dentist specializing in emergency care in your area. It’s a good idea to know where the closest one is, in case you have a dental emergency and your regular dentist is not available. If your dentist is on vacation or the dentist office is closed for the day, then an emergency dentist may be your best choice. You may not feel comfortable with having an unfamiliar dentist perform a complex procedure eon you, which is why palliative care may be preferable in some cases. Be sure the dentist knows what you want done, but also make sure you pay attention to the advice they give you and take into consideration any recommendations for treating the dental problem then and there.