Frequently Asked Questions About Emergency Dentistry
What constitutes a dental emergency?
Dental problems don’t always happen during normal office hours, and not all dental conditions warrant emergency dental care. Take a look below to see if your condition requires a visit with an emergency dentist or if you should schedule an appointment at our dental clinic.
Emergency dentistry is required for:
- Extreme dental pain
- Injury or trauma to the mouth
- Tooth loss caused by an accident or trauma
- Significant bleeding that won’t stop
- Swelling that affects the eye or throat
See a dentist within 24 hours:
- Cracked or fractured tooth
- Tooth infection or abscess
- Severe pain, swelling, or bleeding that occurs soon after a recent dental procedure
- A dental appliance is preventing you from opening/closing your mouth or is causing severe pain
- A tooth has been knocked out of alignment
Get treatment within 24-72 hours:
- Loose/lost dental filling, crown, or dental veneers
- Loose/detached orthodontic appliance or dental implants
- Chipped tooth
- Significant impact to the teeth, even if no pain is present
If you believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency, contact Loudoun Smile Center right away!
What do I do if I have a broken or chipped tooth?
If you chip, fracture, or break one of your teeth, contact Loudoun Smile Center during normal office hours and schedule an appointment. Our dental clinic can often repair chipped or broken teeth in one dental visit.
In the meantime, rinse your mouth with salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces water), take an over-the-counter painkiller if the tooth is painful, and avoid biting down on the broken tooth. If the break has created a sharp or jagged edge, cover it with a piece of wax paraffin or sugarless chewing gum to protect your tongue or the inside of your cheek/lip.
What should I do for a knocked-out tooth?
Teeth knocked out due to injury or accident are not necessarily gone for good if you act quickly. Pick up the tooth by the crown (not the root) and rinse it off with water. Reposition the tooth in the socket, if possible, and hold it in place by gently biting down. If the tooth can’t be replaced in the socket, put it in milk or in your mouth next to your cheek. Contact an emergency dentist right away. If you can be seen at the dental clinic within 30 minutes of the injury, an emergency dentist may be able to save the tooth.
How to relieve a toothache?
When you’re suffering from a toothache, finding relief is priority one. Start by scheduling an appointment at a dentist office, then try a few at home remedies to get short-term relief. One of the best things you can do is rinse your mouth out with warm saltwater, but make sure not to swallow. You can also gently floss around the sore tooth to remove any food particles. Over-the-counter painkillers can help, as can applying a cold compress or ice to the affected area.
Sometimes, toothaches are more than just that. Here are some signs that your toothache may require emergency dental care:
- Dental pain that is not alleviated with over-the-counter medication
- Significant bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling of the jaw or face
- Severe tooth pain more than 2 days after a tooth extraction
- High fever or chills
- Jaw pain, difficulty biting, or a popping sensation when you chew
How to remove an object stuck between teeth
Routine dental cleaning including brushing and flossing is the best way to remove objects like popcorn kernels and sticky candies from between the teeth. However, if that fails to dislodge the debris, contact an emergency dentist at Loudoun Smile Center to prevent irreversible damage or infection.
Can you just walk into the dentist’s office for an emergency?
No, our dentist office doesn’t offer walk-in emergency visits, but we can schedule a same-day appointment with an emergency dentist if believe you’re experiencing a dental emergency. Should your emergency happen outside of normal office hours, we have 24-hour emergency numbers listed on our answering machine that will point you in the right direction.
To find out more information, give us a call today!