General, Cosmetic, and TMJ Dentists Serving Arlington, South Riding, and Nearby Areas of Northern Virginia
A dental emergency can happen at any time. If you’ve suffered an unexpected and pressing dental problem our experienced emergency dentists at Arlington Dental Aesthetics and South Riding Smiles will take every step to address your problem right away. While we don’t offer 24-hour service, we want to help resolve your cosmetic or pain issue as quickly as possible.
To schedule your dental emergency visit now, please call Arlington Dental Aesthetics at 703-214-3183 or South Riding Smiles at 703-214-3185. If you have suffered significant trauma to your jaw or face, or if you are facing a serious health problem or other immediate danger, please call 911 or visit an emergency room immediately.
What Is A Dental Emergency?
Something as seemingly simple as a toothache that won’t go away may be an indicator of a serious oral health issue. Common examples of dental emergencies include:
- Losing a dental crown, filling or other restoration
- Oral abscess
- Injury to the gums, tongue or other soft tissue
- A tooth that is completely knocked out of its socket
- Fractured teeth
- Cracked or chipped teeth
- Damaged braces
Whatever the nature of your emergency, our dentists know how to get you the treatment you need. If you are suffering a great deal of pain, our immediate priority will be to identify the source of your discomfort, relieve your pain and treat the problem so that you can go on with your life until a more conventional dental appointment is possible. In some cases, we may be able to provide the full treatment you need at the time of your emergency visit.
What Should I Do In Case Of A Dental Emergency?
Every dental emergency is unique; in most instances, you can help to keep the situation under control by taking a few basic steps, such as:
- If you’ve suffered cuts or lacerations to your tongue or lips, make sure to properly clean the entire area.
- Bring failed or broken dental work with you to our office.
- Be sure to keep any broken tooth fragments.
- In the event of a lost tooth, if possible, try to slide the tooth back into the socket. If this is impossible, place the tooth in a glass of milk and bring it with you.
Above all else, stay calm. Our experienced dentists will do everything possible to get you on the path to recovery.
What are the benefits of emergency dentistry?
While many dental offices claim to offer emergency dentistry services, when you call at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night you get no response. Then it’s off to the emergency room, where they are not prepared or equipped to deal with dental emergencies.
What you need is to get the quickest attention possible, as this can make the difference between saving a tooth or losing it. While our teeth are incredibly hard, they aren’t indestructible.
At Arlington Dental Associates and South Riding Smiles, we provide on-call service for any dental emergency. This applies 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Simply call (703) 214-3183 for the Arlington area and (703) 214-3185 for the South Riding area and our team will be contacted immediately. We view emergency dental care as just another one of our core services, and our five dentists are available to help you.
What are some different dental emergencies and what do I need to do?
These are some emergencies we see at our two locations:
In a Thanksgiving turkey bowl, one of your cousins forgot it was “touch” football, and his tackle knocked out your two front teeth. Ouch! The first thing to do is to retrieve the knocked-out tooth (or teeth) and rinse it off with water. Although you may be tempted, don’t scrub it or remove any tissue fragments as they may help save your tooth. This sounds silly but try and put the tooth back in place. If you can’t, at least put it in a glass of milk or a glass of water with a pinch of salt. Contact us immediately, as there is a much better chance of saving the tooth if we can see you within the first few hours after it was dislodged.
Chipped or broken teeth
If you chip a tooth, look for the missing pieces and keep them. Then rinse your mouth with warm water. A cold compress applied to the outside of your mouth will reduce the swelling and relieve the pain.
Detached crowns and fillings
Did your crown come off, or did a filling come loose? You can temporarily fill the gap with sugarless gum or dental cement. Don’t use sugared gum; it will cause pain. If a crown comes off, find it and bring it with you. If possible, reattach it with over-the-counter dental cement or denture adhesive. Beyond pain relievers, clove oil (can be found in a drug store or in the spice aisle of the grocery) can alleviate pain and sensitivity when applied directly to the area.
Make sure your mouth is clean by rinsing with warm water and floss to remove any food lodged between your teeth. You can find brush-on over-the-counter toothache relievers but be careful not to get this on your gums. If the toothache lasts more than a day or two, please call us.
Hot and cold sensitivity isn’t usually an emergency but is a sign that the nerves are being irritated. Hot sensitivity with throbbing and a sensation that goes back to the ear are more serious and need immediate attention. Facial swelling is also urgent, as it usually denotes a possible infection and the need for antibiotics.
What causes facial swelling?
Facial swelling is not usually a sign of a dental emergency. If you have any swelling from an issue with something like a broken tooth, the swelling will be localized in the cheek area of the tooth. Short of an infection, which wouldn’t progress so quickly, dental issues won’t make your entire face swell.
Facial swelling can have many common causes: allergic reactions, eye infections, medication side effects, sinusitis, thyroid imbalance, fluid retention, a broken nose, and some rarer conditions such as angioedema. Really the only case where a dental issue would cause widespread facial swelling would be in the case of an abscess due to a tooth infection. Prior to the swelling, this would likely produce serious pain, however.
What causes a toothache?
Toothaches occur when there is inflammation in the central portion of the tooth called the pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive and respond with pain signals. Inflammation in the pulp can come from a cavity where decay has penetrated the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth and has entered the pulp. It can come from a gum infection in the area of the tooth. Trauma, such as a tooth fracture, can also lead to a toothache. In some cases, pain can radiate outward and into the teeth from issues with jaw alignment called a temporomandibular joint disorder.
How much does emergency dentistry cost?
As you would expect, the cost of emergency dentistry varies depending on what happened and what we have to do to address the situation. There aren’t any “set” menu items in emergencies; we simply need to do what’s necessary.
Does dental insurance cover dental emergencies?
Yes. Emergencies typically involve the possible loss of a tooth or a prosthetic. Insurance providers view these as “necessary” treatments, and they cover them. Of course, there is a good deal of grey area with dental insurance and the level of coverage in your plan.