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5284 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
Ph / 1.866.406.6787
Fx / 703.379.6407
Find out more about dental pain treatment, the conditions associated with “toothache,” and preventive measures required to produce a healthier mouth at our Alexandria dentistry practice serving Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, and surrounding Virginia communities.
Dental pain, commonly referred to as a "toothache," is among the most intense and distracting of all common maladies. Often, like heart attacks, the first indication that something is wrong is an intense, persistent pain demanding full attention to seek the quickest possible resolution. A trip to the emergency room, urgent care center, or HMO clinic often doesn't result in a solution as most of these facilities lack both an available dentist and the equipment to produce a solution. You are going to need a dentist (and quick). Ideally, you will have established your "home base" for dental care BEFORE you need that immediate attention. In addition to having a place to go if you develop serious dental pain, having a regular dentist allows you to have the preventative care that really does work for dental conditions. Regular visits have been shown by numerous public health studies to reduce the total overall care required and produce healthier mouths.
What if, despite regular visits, a pain develops in the mouth or face? Most dental pain can be quickly diagnosed by a dentist. Broken teeth, infected teeth or gums, cavities, lost or broken fillings and ulcers or wounds are often notable causes of pain. Your history and description combined with an examination, x-rays and the skill of the dentist should produce a diagnosis leading to corrective treatment and elimination of the pain.
Sometimes the pain source is not as easily found. For example, teeth with microscopic cracks can be very insidious to diagnose. The crack can often be invisible even to magnification and a seemingly ‘normal' tooth can be afflicted with a fatal crack requiring maximum treatment including root canal and crown. Sometimes, even that level of treatment cannot stop the pain until it is extracted. Occasionally, the pain you think is coming from a tooth (or an area of teeth and gums), has its origins elsewhere. Neuralgia referred soft tissue pain, regional pain syndromes, arthritis; even brain tumors and heart attacks have the ability to cause pain to seem to be coming from dental sources. Before advancing to expensive, time consuming and irreversible treatments, everyone wants to be sure all possibilities have been explored. No doctor is right 100% of the time, but all doctors fail when they don't consider 100% of the possibilities. You sure wouldn't want to have a tooth removed and have the pain continue because it was never in the tooth in the first place (as in referred pain due to other causes). Worse, you wouldn't want to be trying to make apparent dental pain stop with a root canal when the actual origin of the pain is a brain tumor. While this is a rare and extreme example, the Center for Dental Anesthesiology has treated several patients with exactly this situation.
Dr. Snyder is a Diplomate (expert by examination) of the American Academy of Pain Management. The AAPM is the largest professional pain association and the only one that is multi-disciplinary. The Center for Dental Anesthesiology regularly sees patients with facial or mouth pain that has previously been difficult to diagnose or manage. We often coordinate care with physicians treating patients with chronic conditions that have a head or mouth component such as fibromyalgia, scleroderma or multiple sclerosis.
Please visit the Alexandria, Virginia dental practice of Dr. James Snyder, the Center for Dental Anesthesiology, to find out more about dental pain and how you can prevent it. We serve patients from Washington, D.C., Fairfax County, and surrounding communities.