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Dental care is now available all night long

INDIANAPOLIS WISH) – One local dental office in downtown Indianapolis is open 24 hours a day trying to keep up with late night dental emergencies.

24 Hour Dental Care saw 20 patients from the hours of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday into Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Ringerberg works the overnight shift at 24 Hour Dental Care, 435 Virginia Ave. in Indianapolis.

“We get some bowling lane accidents. We get baseball accidents or wrestling with your brother accidents,” said Ringerberg.

The idea for an around the clock dental practice came from his father.

“He always said, ‘You know people are going to be in pain, you really need to be available for them,’” said Ringerberg.

Since teaming up with a private practice last December, Dr. Ringerberg says they have seen more than 800 patients.

The dental office has two people on staff on any given night, including one dentist and one assistant.

Ringerberg said they can perform emergency extractions, root canals, dentures and crowns which are some services that hospitals can’t provide overnight.

“I think in the last 15 years they have done a better job at managing some of the acute pain that patients get in dentistry but they’re still not (a) dentist,” said Ringerberg of hospitals.

Emergency room doctor Chris Strachan at IU Health Methodist Hospital said on average they see about five patients a day with some sort of dental pain.

“They’re very much often present for us in the emergency department after hours. When they can’t get into see a dentist on weekends or holidays,” said Dr. Chris Strachan.

He said they do have a specialist on call to look over the extreme cases, but depending on the case there’s only so much they can do to help the patient in the middle of the night.

“If they needed an extraction, typically a root canal or something because of pain without any obvious issue of swelling or something that’s going to cause a problem in a short term, we’ll have to refer them to an out patient basis,” said Dr. Strachan.

The Indiana Dental Association believes this could potentially help emergency rooms and patients in the long run.

Medicaid and insurance is accepted at the 24 Hour Dental Care location but some sort of payment is required before treatment.

They also offer a dental discount plan for patients.