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Dental Associates of Northern Virginia - Potomac
2010 Opitz Boulevard, # D, Woodbridge, VA 22191

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When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Woodbridge

Are You Experiencing a Dental Emergency in Woodbridge?

When you experience a dental emergency, it can seem like your entire world stops. Eating, smiling, and being pain-free aren’t options and your whole being focuses on regaining your good oral health. According to the CDC, dental emergencies cost more than $45 billion annually in lost job productivity and a loss of more than 34 million school hours. By learning more about what constitutes a dental emergency, you can feel more confident and capable the next time you experience one.

What Types of Issues Are Considered to Be Dental Emergencies?

Dental emergencies are usually painful, but pain is subjective and some people have a higher tolerance for pain and are more willing to endure it than others. However, if you have a dull or throbbing pain in or around a tooth, you may have an infection or an abscess and should seek the services of an emergency dentist. This is especially true if the pain isn’t alleviated by over-the-counter pain remedies and it disrupts your sleep.

Cavities can cause excruciating pain and according to the CDC, they affect more than one-fourth of adults and two-thirds of adolescents in the U.S. Left untreated, cavities can become severe infections or the tooth can become abscessed, so if you have tooth pain, don’t delay seeking dental treatment. If you have injured the inside of your mouth, whether it’s a puncture or a laceration or a tear to the cheeks or lips or tongue, you have a dental emergency and should seek emergency treatment. Additional reasons for seeking emergency services include:

  • A chipped or cracked or loose tooth
  • One or more teeth that have been knocked out
  • Heavy bleeding as the result of a gum injury
  • Mouth pain that’s accompanied by a fever and chills
  • A swollen air passage that inhibits your breathing

Although pain is usually an indicator of an emergency,it’s not always the case. The following issues may not be painful but could be treated with our same-day, walk-in dental services:

  • Damage to your bridge
  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
  • Losing a crown or filling
  • Losing a porcelain veneer when you’re eating
  • Increased temperature sensitivity when eating or drinking

Do You Know the 7 Signs of a Dental Emergency?

If you or a loved one experiences any of the following, be sure to seek dental treatment immediately.

  1. Bleeding profusely: If you experience uncontrolled bleeding after a facial trauma or a tooth extraction, be sure to seek emergency treatment.
  2. Gum injury: If you’ve received a cut or gouge to your gums, then seek emergency treatment. Your dentist will need to clean and treat the wound as well as examine your teeth for damage or misalignment.
  3. Lost or fractured filling: Broken fillings leave sharp, jagged edges that can damage the sensitive tissues of your mouth, so seek emergency treatment if you lose or fracture a dental filling
  4. Knocked-out tooth: If you’re able to see your dentist within an hour after losing the tooth, it’s possible that it can be reinserted. If you’re in a high-risk category for losing a tooth, the ADA recommends keeping an emergency tooth-preservation kit on hand, but be sure that it has the ADA seal of approval.
  5. Swelling: Facial swelling can indicate the presence of an infection, inflammation, a severe allergic reaction, a fracture or a TMJ dislocation. All of these conditions require immediate, emergency treatment.
  6. Fractured jaw: If you’ve traumatized your jaw and think it may be fractured, then you need emergency dentistry to ensure that your teeth aren’t damaged and that they aren’t permanently misaligned.
  7. Dry socket pain: If you’ve had an extraction, you may develop dry socket pain. This occurs in up to five percent of the population as a result of a blood clot not forming at the extraction site. This exposes the nerve and bone to air, liquids, and food and can cause severe pain that radiates to the neck and ear. You may also experience a headache, dizziness, and a disagreeable mouth odor, all of which indicate the presence of an infection and require emergency treatment.

Does an Abscess Require Immediate Dental Treatment?

A dental abscess should be treated without delay. Although many people think it’s just a cavity, it’s considerably more than that. Aside from the excruciating pain that usually accompanies an abscess, the bacterial infection can damage your gum tissue, your jawbone, and the surrounding teeth. It can also adversely affect your sinuses, your brain, your bloodstream, and your major organs. Left untreated, it can be fatal, so if you have a dental abscess, be sure to immediately seek emergency dental treatment.

The most common cause of an abscess is poor dental hygiene, but it can also be precipitated by:

  • An unsuccessful root canal
  • A wisdom tooth that’s not fully erupted
  • Cavities
  • One or more cracked or fractured teeth

Your dentist will drain the infection and start you on antibiotics, and then decide whether the tooth can be saved or if you’ll require an extraction.

Does a Cracked Tooth Require Emergency Dentistry?

Whether you bit down too hard on ice or hard candy or you have bruxism or experienced a trauma, if you have a cracked tooth, you need emergency treatment. If the cracked tooth was the result of a sports injury, your dentist may recommend a custom-fitted sports guard that will protect your teeth in the future. It will also protect against bruxism. If a custom mouthguard isn’t an option, then you can purchase a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard, but before you buy one, be sure it carries the seal of acceptance by the ADA. By addressing issues early and preventing them when possible, you dramatically improve your oral health and substantially reduce the risk of minor issues becoming major ones.

If you have a dental emergency in Woodbridge, please call our Dental Care Alliance practice and let us help you. We maintain the highest standards of ethical care and we’re affordable, too. You can make an appointment online or call us, especially if you need immediate dental services. We look forward to working with you.

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Dental Associates of Northern Virginia - Potomac

2010 Opitz Boulevard, # D, Woodbridge, VA 22191

(703) 595-2887