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Emergency Dentist – Rockville, MD

Emergency Care When the Unexpected Happens

Model of a tooth next to a first-aid kit

Hopefully, sudden dental pain or injuries are situations that you don’t have to deal with very often. But when you do, getting fast, high-quality care from an emergency dentist in Rockville is essential for the future of your smile. With over 35 years of experience, advanced training, and the latest technology, Dr. Sanker and our compassionate team will have you out of pain in no time and help protect your oral health for many years to come. If you or a family member ever find yourself in a dental emergency, contact us at any time. We’ll do everything we can to see you the same day!

How To Handle Common Dental Emergencies

Image of a lightning bolt in the root of a tooth

Dental emergencies can be broken down into two main categories. There are sudden injuries and accidents that are completely unexpected, and then there are issues such as toothaches that have been developing over a period of weeks, months, or even years. Rest assured that Dr. Sanker and our experienced team can treat both. After you’ve called us to schedule the first available appointment, you can use the following tips for managing the situation until your visit.

Toothache or Swelling

In many cases, a toothache or swelling are signs that a cavity has turned into a serious infection or abscess. For pain management, you can take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin as directed and apply a cold compress to the area. You can also swish with lukewarm salt water every few hours to reduce pain and pressure in the area. However, remember that even if your pain goes away you still need treatment to prevent the infection from spreading.

Chipped or Broken Teeth

Begin by rinsing out your mouth with lukewarm water. If your tooth is painful or sensitive, apply a cold compress and take over-the-counter pain medication as directed until your visit. You can also use dental wax from the store to cover any sharp edges.

Knocked-Out Tooth

For a knocked-out tooth, time is of the essence. We’ll have the best chance of saving your tooth if you’re seen within an hour, so if you can’t see Dr. Sanker in that timeframe, go to your nearest ER or urgent care center.

Immediately after your injury, be sure to handle your tooth by the crown, not the root. Gently rinse it off and try to put it back in its socket, facing the right way. If that’s not an option, put it in a glass of cold milk or water or hold it in your cheek pouch. It’s important to make sure it stays moist until your visit.

Lost Filling or Dental Crown

If you have a broken filling and are able to find any large pieces, put them in a plastic bag to bring with you. For a dental crown that’s come off, start by rinsing it and drying it off. Then, put either a small amount of dental cement from the drugstore (or toothpaste in a pinch) inside the crown and put it back on your tooth. Don’t use glue or any other adhesive because it can make it more difficult to repair the crown when you arrive.

How To Prevent Dental Emergencies

Distressed man holding his jaw in pain

As a dentist in Rockville, we focus on prevention to help our patients avoid emergencies as much as possible. This includes all of the following:

  • Regular checkups are incredibly important so we can catch small issues before they turn into emergencies.
  • Good brushing and flossing habits go a long way towards prevention.
  • A mouthguard is essential if you participate in any contact sports or recreational activities like mountain biking.
  • If you clench and grind at night, a nightguard will protect your teeth from chips and cracks.
  • Avoid chewing on ice, pens, or hard candies.

The Cost of Treating Dental Emergencies

Woman getting emergency dental exam

Emergency treatment varies a lot and can include anything from a simple filling to a root canal and dental crown. In some cases, we may recommend an extraction followed by a second phase of treatment later on to replace the missing tooth. After Dr. Sanker has assessed your needs, he’ll make a recommendation and will always give you different treatment options whenever possible. You’ll also get a cost estimate and have an opportunity to ask any questions so that you can make the best decision for your personal circumstances.

If you have a dental emergency, schedule an appointment right away so we can create the best treatment plan for your needs and help you move forward with a healthy smile!

Emergency Dentistry FAQs

woman in pink shirt with toothache at emergency dentist

When you’re dealing with a broken tooth or the mother of all toothaches, the last thing you want to deal with is more stress and anxiety because you’re not sure what to do. That is why we outlined how to handle common dental emergencies earlier on this page. To make matters even easier, we have also decided to answer some of our most frequently asked questions about dental emergencies for your convenience down below.

What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

Every dental emergency is different. Obviously, knocking out a tooth during a sporting event is very different from a toothache that manifests from weeks of poor oral hygiene. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether your oral health issue even needs emergency treatment. The most common signs of a dental emergency are:

  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Teeth that are loose, broken, or completely missing
  • Serious discomfort or pain

Even if you’re unsure whether your dental problem warrants calling your dentist, it’s better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this. Ignoring a dental health problem usually causes it to worsen over time, resulting in extensive and often costly treatment being necessary in order to restore your oral health.

Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

If your dental emergency is traumatic, your first instinct might be to call your local hospital instead of your dentist. It’s worth mentioning, however, that most hospitals don’t have a dentist on staff, so they don’t possess the skills or equipment necessary to treat a dental problem like a broken tooth. At most, they might be able to write you a prescription for antibiotics or pain medication, but they often can’t address the root of the problem like Dr. Sanker can.

For most dental emergencies, your best bet is to contact us. However, if your dental emergency could also be considered life-threatening, such as a broken jaw or swelling that hinders your ability to breathe or swallow, you’re better off going to the emergency room.

Will My Tooth Need to Be Removed?

When you have a severe toothache, you might think that extracting your tooth is the best way to alleviate the pain. However, we generally try our best to save your tooth whenever possible. When a tooth is removed, your jawbone weakens in that area, putting you at risk for further tooth loss. Additionally, the adjacent teeth may start to shift out of place. For this reason, we will usually only remove a tooth when all options to save it have been exhausted or if it threatens the health of your other teeth.

My Toothache Went Away. Do I Still Need Treatment?

If you have a toothache that subsides, you might be relieved that you’re no longer suffering from the pain. You might believe that your tooth is getting better. However, if your tooth pain was due to an infection, your problem is far from over. A lack of pain might mean that the infection has damaged the tooth to the point that the nerve is destroyed, effectively making the tooth “dead.” Once the tooth reaches this point, a root canal is pretty much your only option of saving the tooth before extraction is considered.

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