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All Posts in Category: Dental Emergency

Christopher Banks and Zach Link

Christopher Banks, a D.C.-area dentist, Fixes Gay Bashing Victim’s Teeth for Free

Often when we see a heartbreaking news story we think, “I wish there was something I could do.” After finding out the details of Zach Link and his partner’s violent assault, Christopher Banks, a D.C. area dentist did more than just wish. He sprang into action.

On April 15, Zach Link and his partner were viciously attacked on U Street in D.C. at around 12:30 a.m. After being verbally assaulted and repeatedly punched and kicked in the face, Mr. Link discovered that his smile was literally shattered. His broken teeth served as a constant reminder of his experience, affecting him more mentally and emotionally than he first wanted to admit. A friend connected Mr. Link with Dr. Christopher Banks of Capital Cosmetic Dentistry who not only agreed to consult with him on repairing his broken teeth, but did so free of charge.

In a statement to WJLA TV, Dr. Banks said:

Without knowing the depth, breadth, and expense of Zach’s injuries, I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful, loving LGBT community before anything else,” Banks said in a statement. “It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ’one.’

He later posted on Facebook to Mr. Link’s page, “Having you in the office today was a reminder of why I became a dentist in the first place. Being able to restore your smile has brought me such great joy.”

While the assault itself is still under investigation, Dr. Banks has successfully helped erase its lasting physical impact by restoring Mr. Link’s teeth to their original form. He has also reminded a community what it means to reach out in a time of need.

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what is a dental emergency

When a Problem Becomes a Dental Emergency

Even with regular dental cleanings, it’s normal to experience occasional problems with your teeth or gums. Problems such as increased sensitivity or soreness due to grinding are not emergencies; these issues can be addressed and treated during regular business hours. However, some problems may appear harmless at first and then escalate into real dental emergencies. If you experience any of the following problems, take caution as they can grow into dental emergencies.

Your tooth is loose

While it’s perfectly acceptable and even celebrated for a young child to discover a loose tooth, an adult tooth should never wiggle. Even if you do not experience any pain, a loose adult tooth can be a serious indication of an infection or injury. If the loose tooth is present with bleeding gums, advanced gum disease may be the culprit. In either the case of the infection or gum disease, it is important to see your dentist immediately as untreated gum disease can negatively affect heart health.

Your jaw is swollen

Swelling of the body can happen for many reasons. From eating too much salt or sitting for prolonged periods of time, swelling is normal and not necessarily an emergency. During cold and flu season, your lymph nodes may swell a bit as your body fights off the germs. However, if you ever experience a swollen jaw and intense pain, you’re no longer just dealing with a problem; it’s now a dental emergency. This may be the sign of a growing infection that needs medical attention.

Your toothache is suddenly numb

Between commuting, working, and traveling, it’s not always convenient to get to the dentist’s office. Many people try to “wait out” small problems or treat them at home with alternative methods. However, if your seemingly harmless toothache has suddenly turned numb, you need to head to the dentist ASAP. If an abscess grows too close to a nerve, it is possible that the area loses all sensation. While you may feel better because the pain is gone, the problem has grown bigger.

Your wound isn’t healing

Who hasn’t poked the roof of their mouth with a fork or a pointy tortilla chip? While it may hurt, the mouth does heal rather quickly. However, if your oral wound doesn’t heal, it can quickly escalate from a mere annoyance to an emergency if an infection sets in. If you develop a fever or the wound becomes discolored, seek dental treatment immediately.

You have an abscess

If you see a small dot on your gums, note that it may be the start of an abscess, an infection around the root or on the gum. As the abscess grows, you’re likely to experience more pain and swelling. See your dentist immediately as abscesses are serious infections that can quickly spread to other parts of the body. While waiting to see the dentist, rinse with a salt water rinse to minimize any pain.

If you suspect that a dental problem is quickly turning into an emergency, call our office at 202-296-7714.

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dental emergency

What Classifies as a Dental Emergency?

There is nothing worse than a toothache. While in many cases you can wait until the dentist office opens for business, there are some dental emergencies that you shouldn’t wait to contact your emergency dentist. It’s important that you know what these dental emergencies are so that you can protect your family’s teeth. Whether you are at home or on the road when a dental accident happens, the tips below will help you to know when a dentist is needed and when you can wait until tomorrow.

Knocked-Out Tooth

The first thing you need to remember is in some dental situations you only have about 30 minutes in which to save the tooth. A knocked-out tooth is one of those situations. If you get to the dentist in time and follow the right steps to preserve the tooth, then it’s possible it can be saved. It’s best to pick up the tooth by the top, never the roots, and try to place it back in the socket gently. If the tooth does not stay, then put it in a small cup of milk until you can get to your dentist.

A knocked-out tooth can happen in many situations, such as roughhousing, biting down the wrong way on food, a fall, or many other types of accidents. A chipped tooth can wait until your dentist office opens. However, if the tooth is fractured or cracked, it’s possible that it’s damaged from the inside and you need dental help immediately. Make sure that you wash your mouth out gently and take some Tylenol for the pain until you can get to the dentist.

Tissue Injuries

Any injury to the inside of the mouth, whether it is a puncture wound, tears on your lips, cheeks, gums, or tongue is considered a dental emergency, and you need to contact your dentist right away. If the injury is on your tongue, then it’s important to get to an emergency dental clinic or a hospital for treatment. Remember, to never take aspirin or ibuprofen for the pain because they make the bleeding worse.

Other Emergencies

While these are the most common emergencies, there are a few other dental emergencies to watch out. If your tooth is severely infected or abscessed, it could be fatal and needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. It’s possible that the dentist can perform a first stage emergency root canal or refer you to a root canal specialist to save the tooth and possibly your life.

Is it a True Dental Emergency?

If you are still wondering what a true dental emergency includes, gauge the severity by the list below.

  • You are bleeding from the mouth
  • The pain is severe
  • Your teeth are loose
  • You have been hit in the mouth or face
  • There are bulges, swelling, or knots on your gums
  • Your mouth or face are swollen

If you are experiencing any of these dental problems, then it’s time to get to your dentist. Some dental problems can wait until the dentist office opens in the morning. These dental issues, however, need to be tended to by an emergency dentist right away.

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