I’m 16… can I see an emergency dentist alone?

I’m an avid long-boarder and today I got myself in some big trouble! I’m not one for wearing all the safety gear so my mom is constantly hounding me about it. Well, I guess I should have listened because I tried a new stunt and ended up face-first on the concrete and what’s even worse is my tooth now has a small chip in it. There’s no way I can tell my mom… she’ll ground me for weeks! I think this would be considered an emergency, but will a dentist see a 16-year-old without a parent there? I need to get this fixed without her knowing. Help! — Devin

You certainly are in a predicament, but you should re-think your decision about not telling your mom. For one, it’s the responsible thing to do, and secondly, in most states a minor can’t consent to their own medical treatment. In short, that means you must be 18 to have emergency dental treatment without a parent or guardian’s consent.

Your mom will probably be a little upset at first, but she cares about you and will want to do all she can to ensure  you get the right care. Plus, your family probably has some sort of dental insurance that will help with the costs. Unless you have a lot of cold hard cash saved up just waiting to be spent, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars to fix the tooth depending on what exactly need to be done.

Please don’t consider skipping the dentist all-together. There could be underlying damage you can’t see. An emergency dentist can do a quick x-ray just to be sure. Take responsibility for your actions and tell your mom – even if you do get grounded for a week or two, it’s better than risking a damaged tooth that could possibly get worse… and then you’ll have some real explaining to do!

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.