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Smiles at Fairfax Corner
4210 Fairfax Corner Ave W, Ste 220, Fairfax, VA 22030

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When to Seek Help for a Dental Emergency in Fairfax Corner

Are You Experiencing a Dental Emergency in Fairfax Corner?

A dental emergency can be frightening, but is very common. According to the CDC, unplanned dental issues cost more than $45 billion each year in lost job productivity and cause more than 34 million educational hours to be lost. However, learning more about the causes of dental emergencies and how to cope with them can prepare you to handle an urgent situation if one occurs.

Why Would I Need to See an Emergency Dentist?

What constitutes a dental emergency depends on each individual because the level of pain being experienced is a determining factor. Since pain tolerance varies considerably from person to person, as does the ability to endure it, if you have any pain at all, it could indicate that you have an emergency. If your dental pain interferes with your sleep and isn’t alleviated by over-the-counter painkillers, you should seek immediate dental care. If you have a throbbing ache in or around a tooth, then you should seek immediate dental treatment as this can indicate the presence of an oral infection or an abscess.

Untreated cavities can cause excruciating pain and if left untreated, can lead to serious infections and abscesses. The CDC states that tooth decay is “one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood” and affects 66 percent of adolescents and 26 percent of adults in the U.S. If you have an injury to the inside of your mouth or to the lips, tongue or cheeks, then you should get emergency dental treatment without delay. Your dentist will need to examine your mouth and teeth and treat any wounds you have. Additional reasons to obtain emergency dentistry include:

  • Breathing difficulty that’s caused by a swollen air passage
  • Heavy bleeding that’s associated with a gum injury
  • Chills and fever that accompany dental pain
  • One or more teeth that have been chipped, fractured, loosened or knocked out

Although not always considered an emergency, the following issues can benefit from our same-day, walk-in dental services:

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Increased temperature sensitivity when drinking or eating
  • Losing a crown, filling or porcelain veneer, especially when eating
  • Damage to your dental bridge

7 Signs That You Need to Have Emergency Dentistry in Fairfax Corner

If any of the following occur, emergency treatment should be sought without delay.

  1. Facial edema: Facial swelling can indicate the presence of several serious issues such as a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, a dislocated TMJ, a fracture, or an infection, so you should seek immediate emergency treatment.
  2. Fractured jaw: If you think you’ve fractured your jaw, you should promptly seek emergency services to ensure that your teeth are undamaged and still in alignment.
  3. Dry socket pain: Although fewer than five percent of patients develop dry socket pain after an extraction, it’s extremely painful for those who do. This condition occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form in the socket after an extraction, which leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, liquids, food, and infection. The pain can be severe and can radiate up the neck to the ear accompanied by a headache and dizziness. If you have an unpleasant odor in your mouth, there’s probably an infection and your dentist will need to treat it.
  4. Hemorrhaging: If you have excessive bleeding, it’s called hemorrhaging and you need emergency treatment immediately, regardless of whether the cause was an extraction or a trauma.
  5. Gum injury: If one of your gums has been cut or gouged, then you need to undergo emergency treatment. The dentist will clean and treat the wound and ensure that the surrounding teeth are still healthy.
  6. Knocked-out tooth: If you’ve had a tooth knocked out, your dentist may be able to reinsert it if it has been less than an hour since the injury occurred. The ADA recommends that anyone who engages in contact sports keep an emergency tooth-preservation kit on hand. Make sure your emergency kit carries the ADA seal of approval.
  7. Broken or lost filling: If you’ve cracked or lost a filling, you should seek emergency treatment right away. The sharp edges left by the filling can lacerate your cheeks and tongue, and you need to protect the tooth from further damage.

Is a Dental Abscess Life-Threatening?

Although many people think an abscess is just an advanced cavity, it’s actually a serious bacterial infection that can become life-threatening. When treated early, the prognosis for an abscess is good. Left untreated, however, as many as 40 percent of people can die from a condition called mediastinitis, which is an irritation and swelling between the lungs. Infection from an abscess can travel to the sinuses and into the brain or it can move into the bloodstream and bone marrow, causing sepsis to set in and seriously damaging your major organs. If you have a severe cavity, don’t procrastinate seeking dental treatment or the cavity could become abscessed. Other common causes of bacterial infections include:

  • A failed root canal
  • A wisdom tooth that didn’t completely erupt
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Trauma

If you have one of these bacterial infections, you’re likely to be in considerable pain. The dentist will drain the abscess, prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection, and determine whether the tooth can be saved or if it needs to be removed.

Is It Unhealthy to Have a Cracked Tooth?

A cracked tooth can enable infection to the tooth and lacerations to the cheeks and tongue. If you have a cracked tooth, be sure to get immediate dental care whether the damage arose from a sports-related activity or from biting on a hard substance, such as candy or ice. If you engage in contact sports, your dentist may recommend that you wear a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth. A mouthguard will also help protect against the effects of bruxism. If a customized mouthguard isn’t feasible, then stock models are available, as are boil-and-bite options; just be sure that your mouthguard is ADA approved. This will ensure that you’re getting a quality product that will work properly. When dental issues are treated in their early stages, the prognosis is better and there’s less likelihood of having a dental emergency.

If you have a dental emergency in Fairfax Corner, please call our Dental Care Alliance practice for an appointment. We maintain the highest level of professional ethics and quality of care, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the best dental care possible, whether it’s for an emergency or a routine visit. Call us to schedule an appointment or feel free to make an appointment online. We look forward to speaking with you and working with you.

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