If you or a loved one needs urgent dental care, get in touch with Smiles by Myles right away. Call our Reston office and we’ll make every effort to see you as soon as we can.
When you first notice the signs of a dental emergency (such as constant oral pain, visibly damaged teeth, or badly swollen gums), it is important to contact a dental health professional as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage to the teeth or gums. Dr. Myles will see your dental emergency on the same day if possible and when considered necessary to address your trauma or concern.
How to Handle Common Dental Emergencies
If you’re experiencing what appears to be severe tooth pain, your first step should be to rinse your mouth and floss thoroughly. This should get rid of anything that has become trapped between your teeth. However, if the pain doesn’t go away within a couple of days, you likely have an infected tooth and may even require a root canal. You can take ibuprofen or a similar type of pain medication while waiting for your appointment time.
Sometimes a chipped or broken tooth won’t cause you any pain or lead to further problems; in other cases, the damage might be severe enough for a crown or even an extraction. Until we have a chance to examine the tooth, avoid chewing with it. Try to save any broken pieces if you can. Also, if you notice any bleeding, try to stop it by applying a piece of gauze. We may recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers to restore the look of your injured tooth or teeth.
The odds of having a tooth replanted become significantly lower if you don’t make it to our office within an hour of the accident. Call us immediately, then rinse off the tooth (being careful to only touch the part that’s normally visible in the mouth) and either place it back in its socket or in a glass of milk. We can replace single missing teeth with dental implants. Dental bridges can restore teeth if there are multiple missing.
If your filling or tooth crown is still in one piece, you can try keeping it in place with denture adhesive or sugar-free gum. This is only temporary; you’ll need our help to permanently reattach a restoration (or replace it if necessary).
How to Prevent Common Dental Emergencies
To keep the chances of a dental emergency to a minimum, you might need to make a few changes to your everyday routine. Certain habits or a lack of oral hygiene and dental care can contribute to the incidence of a dental emergency.
- Break habits such as chewing on pen tips and fingernails that can wear down the teeth.
- Get a customized mouthguard to wear while playing sports.
- Brush two times every day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Clean between the teeth daily using dental floss, interdental brushes, or a water flosser.
- Regularly rinse with antibacterial mouthwash.
- Visit our practice for a checkup every six months.
The Cost of a Dental Emergency: Some emergencies can be resolved easily while others require a root canal or another kind of advanced treatment. As such, it’s impossible to know what the cost of your treatment will be without a thorough examination. To make sure your care is affordable, Dr. Myles is happy to accept most dental insurance plans. We also offer our own In-House Dental Plan if you don’t have a traditional policy.
Emergency Dentistry FAQs
Dealing with damaged teeth and oral pain can be incredibly stressful under the best of circumstances. You’ll want to make sure you’re completely prepared to deal with a dental emergency as soon as one occurs. During your next appointment, feel free to talk to Dr. Myles about any concerns you might have in the event of needing urgent care; he’ll give you the guidance you need so that you can make a good decision when the worst happens.
What Counts as a Dental Emergency?
Obviously, an infection that was caused by poor oral hygiene is a very different kind of emergency compared to a tooth that broke when you were crunching on some ice. There are many kinds of oral health issues, and it can be difficult to know exactly which ones need immediate care. The most common signs that your problem rises to the level of an emergency are:
- Intense pain and discomfort
- Teeth that are broken, loose, or missing altogether
Even if you’re not sure that you’re experiencing an emergency, it’s always better to be safe than sorry; ignoring a minor issue for too long could eventually result in a truly serious problem.
Should I go to an Emergency Room?
Sometimes your first instinct will be to call a hospital instead of the dentist. This is often the right call if you have a broken jaw, experience uncontrollable bleeding, or are having a hard time breathing; essentially, you should call the emergency room for any issue that could be life-threatening or that is impacting more than just the teeth and gums.
For regular dental emergencies, however, a dentist will always be your best bet. Most emergency rooms won’t be equipped to deal with the underlying cause of a tooth infection (at most being able to write a prescription for antibiotics), and they may not be able to repair a broken tooth. Such cases are best left to knowledgeable dentists such as Dr. Myles.
Should My Tooth Be Removed?
You may think that you can solve the root of your dental problem by simply having your tooth extracted. However, while this procedure can sometimes be in your best interest, it’s usually only recommended when other treatments would be ineffective. Losing one tooth can cause your other teeth to drift out of place, and your risk of cavities and further tooth loss will go up; you’ll also need to think about the cost of a prosthetic. As such, we will try and save your tooth when possible. If extraction is our only option, however, we’ll help you stay comfortable during the process and walk you through the process of finding a replacement.
If My Toothache Goes Away, Do I Still Need Treatment?
You might be relieved at first if a toothache suddenly goes away, but if the pain was from an infection, the problem is far from solved. A loss of pain could mean that the nerve inside the tooth has been completely destroyed, which is often a sign of highly advanced infection. Ignoring the problem any longer could allow the infection to spread. In other words, even if your severe oral pain goes away, you should still see Dr. Myles as soon as you can.