Emergency Dentistry

When you have a toothache or the pain of an infection or when you suffer a broken or knocked-out tooth, you need emergency dentistry. Thanh Lam, DDS, at North Rockville Dental accommodates emergency care with same-day appointments that provide quick pain relief and immediate care for your dental problem. Call the office in Rockville, Maryland, as soon as you have a dental emergency, especially if you have a knocked-out tooth — quick action increases the chance of saving the tooth.

Emergency Dentistry Q & A

When do I need emergency dental care?

Three symptoms are good signs you have a dental emergency, regardless of the underlying problem: severe pain, loss of a tooth, and bleeding that won’t stop.

A few examples of dental problems that often require emergency care include:

  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Loose permanent tooth
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Signs of an infection or abscess (fever, dental or facial pain)
  • Object stuck in the gums or mouth

If you have any doubts about whether your problem is an emergency, call North Rockville Dental, and they’ll help determine whether you need a same-day appointment or you can wait until the next day.

What steps should you take during a dental emergency?

Quick action on your part may help save a damaged tooth. Here are some tips for common dental emergencies:

Knocked-out tooth

Dr. Lam has a better chance of saving the knocked-out tooth if you do three things:

  • Don’t touch the tooth root (only handle the crown)
  • Keep the tooth moist
  • Get dental care within an hour

You can keep the tooth moist by rising it under cool water and placing it back into its socket, holding the tooth between your gums and cheeks, or by putting it in a cup of milk.

Cracked, chipped, or broken tooth

Whether a chipped or broken tooth is an emergency depends on the severity of the injury. It’s an emergency when:

  • The crack is severe
  • A large piece of tooth is gone
  • The inner pulp is exposed

While you wait to see Dr. Lam, avoid chewing and don’t consume foods or beverages that are too hot or cold.

Item stuck in your tongue, gum, or cheek

Don’t try to remove any item that’s firmly stuck in the soft tissues inside your mouth because you may cause more damage to the surrounding tissues.

What is the treatment for a dental emergency?

The treatment provided depends on your emergency. Dr. Lam immediately places a knocked-out tooth back in its socket. In some cases, a quick but temporary restoration is applied, like a temporary dental crown. You then schedule an appointment to get a permanent restoration. If a permanent crown has come off than it is re-cemented after checking for cavities.

If you have an infection, your immediate treatment may consist of antibiotics so the infection is cleared before dental work is performed. Sometime it may be necessary to extract a problematic tooth.

What dental problems require tooth extraction?

Teeth often need to be extracted or removed when they’re too damaged or decayed to be saved. Whenever possible, Dr. Lam uses other treatments like a crown or root canal to preserve your natural tooth, but sometimes there isn’t enough healthy tooth to restore.

Broken teeth can be sources of infection and can cause other serious problems throughout the body. You may need an extraction if your jaw is too small to hold all of your teeth. Extraction is also a common procedure for removing impacted wisdom teeth, which are teeth that stay in your jaw rather than growing in normally. Our office has the x-ray technology to image all the teeth in their entirety in a quick 30 second scan.

What happens before my tooth extraction?

Before an extraction, Dr. Lam performs a thorough dental exam and reviews your medical and drug history to be sure you don’t have problems that may prevent dental surgery. You may need to undergo treatment to eliminate an infection or to stop taking certain medications prior to the extraction.

After reviewing your X-rays and evaluating the position of the tooth and the condition of the underlying bone, Dr. Lam determines the type of extraction and type of anesthesia you may need.

Although many extractions use a local anesthetic, you may want additional sedation if the extraction is complex or more than one tooth is being removed.

How is a tooth extracted?

The extraction depends on the root placement and the condition of the tooth. If your tooth is above the gum line, Dr. Lam may only need to loosen it and then pull it out.

If the tooth is impacted or broken at or below the gum line it may be necessary to perform a simple procedure to facilitate removal of the tooth.

After the tooth is removed, Dr. Lam may place bone-grafting material into the socket to preserve the bone and promote healing.

You’ll receive specific self-care instructions to follow after an extraction. It’s especially important to allow a blood clot to form, which means eating a soft diet for a few days and avoiding swishing fluids, sucking through a straw, and smoking.

When you need emergency dentistry, call North Rockville Dental so they can provide dental care as quickly as possible.

"Normally, I do not like going to the dentist, but for the first time in life, I look forward to my next appointment."

Samantha W.

"I had a great experience here... Dr. Lam was really great - friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. Would highly recommend."

James C.

"I actually look forward to my dental appointments now! I smile when I come in (even when it's for a less-fun reason) - and I smile when I leave. Good people."

Cassie W.

"I appreciate how quick I'm seen in the office and how awesome and helpful ALL of the staff that work there are!"

Zoe H.

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