What is a dental emergency?

A dental emergency is anything that you consider to be an emergency. It could be a broken tooth, pain, sensitivity, a broken denture, toothache, or swelling. Whatever is an emergency to you is an emergency at our office.

What are the services you provide for dental emergencies?

For a broken tooth, we provide same-day crowns. If your denture broke, we've got a lab in-house and a lab next door. For toothache and swelling, I perform root canals, extractions, and implants. If you're missing a tooth, we can replace it. If you're experiencing sensitivity, a topical desensitizing agent can help. We also treat cold sores, blisters, canker sores, and lesions of any type.

When should one go for emergency care versus scheduling a routine appointment or going to the emergency room or urgent care?

The emergency room or urgent care clinic generally doesn't have dentists. They can only provide antibiotics and pain meds, which is a temporary solution. If you don't have any concerns, you should schedule a cleaning or check-up. If you do have a problem, you should call our office. We strive to see you the same day if possible. However, if there is swelling that's going down your neck and impeding your airway, or if you feel like you can't breathe, you're having a stroke, experiencing paralysis, you should call 911.

What are common dental emergencies and what is your advice for them?

Common dental emergencies include a broken tooth, a broken denture, sensitivity, and sores in the mouth. For all these situations, we advise you to call our office so we can diagnose and treat the problem.

What is a wisdom tooth and what is wisdom tooth pain?

Wisdom teeth are your third molars that come in usually in late teens, sometimes early 20s. They come in the back and sometimes they're pointed forward or down or backwards and can't come in properly. As they try to come in, people experience growth or eruption pain. If the tooth is half in and some food or bacteria gets packed down in there, you can get an acute flare-up, which is quite painful. In such cases, you should call our office. We can put you on some antibiotics, irrigate it out, and extract the tooth if necessary.

What causes bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums could be due to tartar buildup on your teeth. Over time, the bacteria builds up on the tooth and starts to calcify, causing bleeding and inflammation in the gum and eventually bone loss. This condition is known as periodontal disease or gum disease, which is a serious infection. Health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, strokes, and diabetes can be made worse by periodontal disease. Regular professional cleanings can prevent this condition.

What should one do if their bridge, crown, or veneer comes off?

If your bridge, crown, or veneer comes off, you should keep it and give us a call. Many times it can be reattached.

When would you recommend an emergency dental extraction?

An emergency dental extraction is recommended if we can't save the tooth or you don't want to save the tooth with a root canal.

Why might someone need an emergency root canal?

An emergency root canal is needed when a cavity, decay, or bacteria gets into the nerve or pulp of the tooth, causing a lot of pain. Root canals are a quick, easy, and painless procedure to save the tooth.

The most common feedback I receive about root canals is, "Oh, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." Root canals developed a negative reputation due to experiences from 20 or 30 years ago when the process took a long time, lacked rotary instrumentation, and patients struggled to get numb due to infections. Fortunately, contemporary methods have made the procedure painless, effective, and efficient.

Even my assistants, who have worked with me, have expressed how their perspectives on root canals changed. The key is to ensure a quick and painless experience. I am committed to never working on a patient in my office if they are not numb. Achieving numbness can be accomplished through various techniques, including different injection methods, intraosseous injections, sedation, and nitrous oxide. With numerous options available, if you have concerns about pain, rest assured that I will not proceed with any work unless you are comfortably numb.

Do you offer same-day care?

Yes, we offer same-day care. In case of an emergency or if you're experiencing pain, we prioritize addressing your needs promptly. One notable feature in our office is the availability of a same-day crown machine. This means you can receive a high-quality ceramic crown, comparable to what you would get from a traditional lab, all in a single visit—no temporary crowns, no need for additional appointments. There's no risk of your temporary crown coming off, and you won't have to make a separate trip to the office. The ceramic crown you receive on the same day is of the same high quality as those obtained from a lab. It's worth noting that only about 15% of dentists in the United States offer this service, and we are proud to be among them.

What should one do if they have a dental emergency after hours or on the weekends?

My personal cell phone number plays on the recorder when the office is closed. Patients can text or call me, we can FaceTime, or you can text me a photo. I can call in medications anywhere in the United States if you're out of town.

How can patients contact your office?

Patients can call our office at (703) 451-4500. We also receive texts at this number. One of my front desk staff will assist you in scheduling an appointment to see me.