How do I handle emergencies/dental concerns?

In case of a dental emergency, seek the help of a professional so he can evaluate the extent of the problem and provide treatment as quickly and safely as possible. The faster you see a dentist, the better chance your tooth can be saved.

Keep Dr. Osseiran's information in an easily accessible place in case of an emergency. He can be contacted at his office or on his cell phone at any time.

Emergency Contact Information

H. Sami Osseiran, D.D.S., M.S., M.A.G.D.
8150 Leesburg Pike, Suite 900
Vienna, VA 22182

Phone: 703-288-4700
Fax: 703-288-4242
E-mail: DrO@JustForYourSmile.com

What do I do regarding a toothache?

A toothache can be sharp and piercing, or more generalized and throbbing and is usually caused by decay. If you are having sensitivity to hot or cold that causes throbbing, with treatment the tooth can be saved.

There are several ways to provide temporary relief until you see your dentist.

  • Purchase an over-the-counter painkiller such as Motrin or Tylenol. Take one tablet every six hours until you see your dentist.
  • If the area around the tooth is swollen, use a cool compress intermittently.
  • Apply clove oil to the area in pain.
  • Apply a cube of ice on the web of the skin between the thumb and index finger on the hand that's on the same side as your toothache for several minutes until the area is numb. Research at McGill University shows that pain is reduced by approximately 50% using this technique.

What do I do regarding broken teeth?

Ten Steps to Save a Chipped, Broken or Knocked Out Tooth

  1. If your tooth is partly or completely broken off, the first step is to have someone call Dr. Osseiran so you can see him as soon as possible. In the meantime clean the affected area to protect the tissue and tooth.
  2. Do not use aspirin. It is anti-coagulant and will stop the blood from clotting.
  3. Stop the bleeding by biting moderately on a clean gauze or cloth.
  4. Use warm water and try to rinse out as much dirt as possible.
  5. If the tooth is loose or has fallen out, try to hold it in place.
  6. Wet a small piece of cotton, gauze or a piece of clothing in warm water (or in your mouth), and place it over the tooth biting down gently to hold it in.
  7. If the tooth is dirty, rinse the tooth gently, without scrubbing since you could remove some of the vital nerve or fiber.
  8. If it is not possible to put the tooth back in, place it in a container of milk or under your tongue (do not swallow it!!!) to keep the nerve and fiber alive.
  9. Take whatever pain reliever you normally take if you need them.
  10. Keep your mouth closed, and talk as little as possible until you get to the dental office.

What do I do if my gums are bleeding?

Gums may bleed when you brush due to a cut or periodontal infection.

  • If the bleeding is due to a cut, apply pressure to the area with cotton gauze for 15 minutes and contact your dentist.
  • If the bleeding is not due to a cut, dissolve one small tablespoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse. Repeat this as frequently as you can until you see your dentist.
  • You can apply the same treatment if you are having pain in your wisdom teeth.

What are crowns? How do I take care of them?

Crowns cover a tooth and are used in many cosmetic and restorative applications. They are excellent for covering badly shaped and discolored teeth, restoring cracked teeth and protecting weak teeth from breaking. They can be a very natural-looking and long-lasting restorative treatment.

  • Crowns don't decay like natural teeth, however the tooth structure around them is still prone to decay and infection.
  • Avoid chewing ice, hard foods or other hard objects like pens. Tooth grinding or bruxism can also cause damage.
  • If your crown falls out you can put it back in using a mixture of baby powder and Vaseline. Mix the two together to make a thick paste, apply it to the open end of the crown and put the crown back. This is a very temporary measure and protects the underlying structure until you see your dentist to re-cement the crown.

What do I do if my dentures break?

If you have broken your denture, you can do the following as a temporary measure until you see a dentist.

  • Clean and dry the denture.
  • Try to assemble the pieces correctly.
  • If you are sure they are appropriately pieced together, apply a small amount of crazy glue to the broken edges of the denture and hold it for a few minutes while it dries.
  • Place it back in your mouth when it is completely dried. This will take approximately ten minutes.

The same technique applies when you have a lost tooth from your dentures. This will hold your denture together until you can see a dentist.

How do I remedy bad breath?

Bad breath is due to sulfa bi-products. Some bad breath is temporary in nature and is caused by food. Other causes may require professional intervention. These include periodontal and gingival disease, xerostomia or dry mouth, nasal/sinus infections, systemic diseases like diabetes or gastrointestinal disorders. Professional diagnosis and treatment can help to identify your particular cause of bad breath and offer a possible solution.

If you have bad breath, you can combat it by doing the following:

  • Have your teeth professionally cleaned at regular intervals.
  • Use unscented floss to detect odors so you can clean your teeth more effectively.
  • Ask Dr. Osseiran to recommend a mouthwash.
  • Brush your teeth, tongue and gums thoroughly, especially after eating.
  • Chew sugar-free gum, particularly if your mouth feels dry.
  • Drink water regularly.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is an early detector of both minor and major dental problems. Teeth are surrounded by enamel, which protects the softer internal surface from damage during chewing. It also insulates the tooth against temperature changes in your mouth. If the enamel is damaged your teeth can become sensitive to temperature changes.

There are several ways teeth can become sensitive.

  • Fracturing the enamel, exposing the internal surface of the tooth.
  • Wearing enamel down from grinding.
  • A nerve infected or inflamed by decay.
  • Improper brushing with a hard toothbrush.
  • A loose or leaky filling.
  • Build-up of plaque and tartar around the tooth.

Your teeth may feel a little sensitive just after you've had a cleaning, filling or crown installation. That's normal and should wear off within a few days. If the problem persists longer than a few weeks, report this to Dr. Osseiran. Appropriate treatment can be provided.

What is TMJ, and does it cause headaches?

About 40% of healthy individuals suffer from chronic headaches, and it is estimated that most headaches occur from muscle tension. The headache may feel like a dull ache on one or both sides or a steel band wrapped around your head.

Your headaches may be dental in origin if you experience:

  • Sore jaw muscles when you wake up.
  • Jaw joints that click or pop.
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Head or scalp that is painful to touch.

If you are having one or more of these symptoms, please inform your dentist. Treatment can be as simple as wearing a guard to decompress the joint and relax your muscles.

What are some facts I should know about babies and infants teeth?

  • Baby teeth are important. Dental care should begin before the first teeth appear. Use a soft piece of gauze to wipe the gums daily. After the first teeth break through, use a soft-bristled toothbrush (without toothpaste) to clean them.
  • Baby teeth help to develop strong and well-balanced bones and muscles in your child's jaw.
  • Baby teeth act as place holders for the adult teeth to come. Losing a tooth too early due to decay can cause poor positioning of the teeth that replace them.
  • If your child relies on a bottle to fall sleep at night, make sure it only contains water. Milk, juice or other sweetened drinks stay in the baby's mouth and can lead to a painful and devastating form of tooth decay.
  • Do not use teething cookies that are high in sugar.
  • If your teething baby shows signs of discomfort and irritability, give him or her unsalted breadsticks, crackers or approved teething rings.

What should I know about thumb sucking?

  • Thumb sucking can make a big difference in a child's developing teeth and smile. Avoid problems by encouraging your child to stop thumb sucking by about age 4. If it continues beyond the point when the permanent front teeth are emerging, it can severely affect the positioning of the teeth. Thumb sucking can alter a child's mouth by forcing the bones, muscles and teeth to form an uncomfortable bite. If it happens they won't fit evenly.
  • The incorrect use of infant pacifiers can affect teeth in the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs.

When should I schedule my child’s first visit?

  • Your child's first visit to Dr. Osseiran should be between the ages of 2 and 3 years old.
  • Play dentist with your child to get him or her used to the idea of a dentist looking in their mouth.
  • Do not use phrases like, “It won't hurt” or “Don't be scared” before dental visits. This creates anxiety in children.

What are the most common problems signs and their solutions?

  • Signs that your child may have an incorrect bite include speech problems, chewing difficulties, open-mouth breathing and overlapped or crowded teeth.
  • Orthodontics can help misdirect permanent teeth move and grow into the right place. The earlier misaligned teeth are corrected, the better and faster the results.
  • Treatment can include partial braces and functional appliances.

What are your pre-operative instructions?

  1. Make your dentist aware of all the medications that you are currently taking, and please don't forget to notify your dentist of any medications you are allergic to.
  2. If you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, stop taking any blood thinner or medications or supplements such as aspirin and vitamin E three days prior to your scheduled procedure. Make sure to also check with your physician.
  3. Continue taking all the medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.
  4. If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic premedication because of heart-related conditions or artificial prosthesis, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic one hour before your dental appointment.
  5. You make take a moderate painkiller, such as Tylenol (non-aspirin), prior to the procedure, as this may help reduce pain postoperatively.
  6. If you have any anxiety related to your dental appointment, discuss it with your dentist as he may be able to reduce your anxiety with very safe medications.
  7. Please eat a normal breakfast or lunch as applicable. Note: Patients that choose to be consciously sedated (light sedation; intraoral sleep tablet) should eat a light meal a couple of hours prior to the procedure.
  8. A responsible adult must accompany the patient to the office and drive the patient home.
  9. If you are scheduled for a long procedure, dress in comfortable loose clothes.
  10. If you have any questions, please call our office prior to your appointment.

What are your post-operative instructions?

Different dental procedures may have specific post-operative instructions which will be provided by your dentist at the time of service. Listed below are general post-operative instructions to be followed for all surgically-related procedures.

  1. To prevent swelling, apply an ice pack or a cold towel to the outside of your face in the area affected for 2-3 days. For the first three hours, apply alternately, 20 minutes on then 20 minutes off.
  2. Take the prescribed medication as directed and until it is finished. If you seem to be having a reaction to the medication, call the office immediately.
  3. You may gently brush your teeth avoiding the surgery area. Clean that area with a cotton swab dipped in Peridex (chlorhexedine solution) for the first week or two (up to 8 weeks depending on the dental procedure).
  4. In case of bleeding, roll a piece of damp tissue or gauze into a ball large enough to cover the wound and apply firm pressure, holding it in place by biting or with your finger for about 10-20 minutes. If bleeding still continues, you may fold a wet tea bag in half, cover it with gauze and bite down on it for 10 minutes. Tea contains Tannic Acid, a styptic, which may help to reduce the bleeding.
  5. For most procedures, gentle warm saltwater rinses should be started 24 hours after surgery (twice a day for 2 weeks; 1 teaspoon salt + 8oz. water). Gentle Peridex rinses should be started immediately after the procedure at least three times per day for one week.
  6. Proper nutrition is essential for rapid healing of any wound. Eat normal regular meals as soon as you are able to after surgery. Cold, soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, or Ensure soft food supplement may be the most comfortable for the first day if you are unable to chew. Be sure to consume plenty of milk products, meat, vegetables and citrus fruits. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids. In addition, a vitamin supplement should be taken to help during the healing phase. Take a good multiple vitamin and at least a 1000mg of vitamin C a day.
  7. Do not spit or suck through a straw especially after tooth extraction, as this will promote bleeding and may dislodge the blood clot, causing a dry socket.
  8. Do not smoke for five days as nicotine will interfere with healing and reduce blood supply to the area.
  9. Do not disturb the wound. In doing so you may invite irritation, infection and/or bleeding. Be sure to chew on the opposite side for 24 hours and keep anything sharp from entering the wound (i.e. eating utensils etc.).
  10. If upper posterior implants are placed, do not blow your nose for two weeks following surgery.
  11. Remember your follow-up visit.