Think fast: you just knocked out one of your teeth, and now you are bleeding and in extreme pain. What do you do? Who should you call? Do you need to dial 911? When you find yourself in need of urgent dental care, the best thing for you to do is to immediately call your emergency dentist in Lincoln at Pioneer Greens Dentistry. Dr. Shirk, Dr. Chris, and Dr. Claire are experienced in these high-intensity situations and can give you the relief you need quickly. While a knocked-out tooth is a very common dental emergency, there are many other situations where you should call us promptly as well.
Why Choose Pioneer Greens Dentistry for Emergency Dentistry?
Same-Day Appointments Available for Emergency Patients
State-of-the-Art Facility & Highly Experienced Dental Team
Several Flexible Payment Options Available
How We Treat Dental Emergencies
Depending on your situation, there are many things you can do when a dental emergency occurs. However, no matter the situation, try to remain calm and contact Pioneer Greens Dentistry right away. In fact, you should put our number in your phone right now so that you do not have to look it up while injured! Those precious moments count while you are in pain. When you call, here’s what you can expect:
We will schedule your appointment for as soon as possible: Oftentimes, we’re able to see our emergency patients on the same day they call us. Our highly experienced team will also give you first-aid instructions over the phone to help you until you reach our office.
Your Lincoln emergency dentist will examine you: When you arrive at the practice, one of our dentists will examine you right away and take any necessary X-rays to better understand your situation.
We will review our findings with you: Once we’ve gotten you out of any serious pain or discomfort, we will go over our findings with you and work with you to make a treatment plan to get your oral health back on track.
You’ll get the care you need right away: As soon as you and your dentist have agreed on a treatment plan, we will get to work right away. Whether you need a filling, a root canal, or something else entirely, we will focus on preserving your teeth and helping you regain a healthy, pain-free smile.
The Most Common Dental Emergencies
A dental emergency is a situation where you have traumatically injured your teeth or gums and need to get urgent attention. The key indicator is pain. If you are in so much dental pain that you cannot focus on anything else, you are probably in the middle of a dental emergency, and you need to act quickly so you can save your teeth and reduce your discomfort. Give us a call immediately if you experience any of the following situations:
Absolutely. Your teeth should not cause you discomfort, so if you have a toothache, contact our Lincoln office right away. Tooth pain often is a sign of deep decay that has affected the nerve of the tooth, located in the pulp. This problem requires immediate attention; waiting not only prolongs your discomfort but allows the decay to consume the entire tooth or spread to other teeth.
How You Should Handle a Toothache
After calling us for an emergency appointment, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to lessen your discomfort. If you are experiencing swelling, you can place a cold compress on your face, which also helps numb any additional pain.
How We Treat Toothaches
If we find the source of the problem is a deep cavity, we will likely need to administer root canal therapy. This procedure involves removing the infected tooth structure and pulp, sealing off the inner chamber, and restoring the tooth with a dental crown. Another possible treatment is addressing the cavity with a filling. Keep in mind, however, that if the damage is extensive enough, we may need to remove the tooth entirely. We will not know which solution will work best for your situation until we have had the chance to examine you.
Although a chipped tooth often is only a cosmetic problem, it is still considered a dental emergency because most patients want it fixed immediately. Plus, depending on the depth of the chip, the tooth could be extra sensitive or exposed to bacteria, so it is a good idea to give us a call if you experience a chipped tooth.
How You Should Handle a Chipped Tooth
If possible, find the piece or pieces of the tooth and bring them with you to our office. You may have a sharp edge or point, in which case you may need to apply dental wax or sugar-free gum to protect your gums, cheeks, and tongue from getting damaged.
How We Treat Chipped Teeth
In some cases, we may be able to reattach or fill in the chipped tooth using composite resin. Veneers can also cover up unsightly chips. If the damage is more extensive, we may need to consider a dental crown to safeguard the remaining tooth.
Yes, it is. A cracked tooth, in addition to often being uncomfortable, allows harmful bacteria easy access to the more sensitive center of your tooth. Without enamel to protect it, the tooth becomes more vulnerable to decay, which is why we need to fix the problem as soon as possible.
How You Should Handle a Cracked Tooth
Try to avoid eating with that area of your mouth and keep it clean by swishing salt water. If you are in pain, feel free to take over-the-counter pain medication.
How We Treat Cracked Teeth
Treatment may vary depending on how deep or severe the crack is. For minor, cosmetic cracks, we can cover them up using composite resin or veneers. Sometimes, we need to remove the pulp and place a dental crown to keep and hold the tooth together. If the crack reaches below the gumline, we must extract the tooth completely; in this case, we can discuss your replacement options like a bridge or a dental implant.
Perhaps. Sensitivity could be a sign that decay has penetrated the enamel; however, over time, your enamel can naturally wear down, leading to sensitivity. We will not know whether your tooth sensitivity is something to worry about unless we get to examine your smile. If your sensitivity gets progressively worse or more intense, then you should certainly give us a call for an emergency appointment. Otherwise, you may be able to tell us about your sensitivity at your next hygiene visit.
How You Should Handle Very Sensitive Teeth
Pay attention to what triggers your sensitivity and how often it occurs. Try to avoid those things that make it worse, and make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste and drinking plenty of water. Again, if the sensitivity changes, you should not wait to have us take a look.
How We Treat Very Sensitive Teeth
Because sensitivity can result from several causes, the treatment may vary from case to case. For normal enamel wear, we may be able to cover your teeth with a protective layer of composite resin, or it may necessitate a dental crown. If the tooth has decay, we will need to remove it, possibly with root canal therapy, before restoring it with a filling or crown.
Definitely! Once your adult teeth have erupted, they are ideally supposed to last the rest of your life. If one is knocked out, there is a limited time in which it can be successfully re-implanted, so you need to act fast. Contact our office right away and try to get to us within the hour for the best chances of saving the tooth.
How You Should Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth
When you touch the tooth, avoid contact with the root portion to avoid contaminating it. Gently rinse the tooth off with clean water and try to put the tooth back into the gums and socket. If that is not possible, keep the tooth moist by storing it in a container of milk or warm water, and make sure to bring it with you.
How We Treat Knocked-Out Teeth
As previously mentioned, we only have a small window of time to save the natural tooth. If you have not done so already, we will reposition the tooth within the socket. Then, we will place a splint, which is an oral appliance that secures the tooth while the supportive tissues heal. If we are unable to use the tooth, we can talk about your options to replace it.
Yes, if you lose a filling or dental crown, it is considered a dental emergency. In this scenario, the tooth is left exposed and unprotected. Plus, it can be difficult for the tooth to function without the restoration. Let us know immediately if a filling or crown comes off your tooth.
How You Should Handle a Lost Filling or Crown
If at all possible, find the restoration and rinse it off with clean water. Using just a dab of toothpaste, reattach it to the tooth. Keep in mind that this method is just to keep the restoration in place temporarily. You will still need to come to our office for a longer-lasting solution. If you do not have the restoration, you may put some sugar-free gum over the tooth to protect it until you arrive.
How We Treat Lost Fillings or Crowns
Occasionally, we are able to reuse the filling or crown and simply reattach it to the tooth. Most often, however, we need to replace it entirely because it is old or damaged. Bring the restoration with you, and we can determine the best course of action for your smile.
Yes, a broken denture is a dental emergency because you will likely not be able to eat without it. Plus, wearing a broken denture puts your gums and other oral tissues at risk of damage.
How You Should Handle a Broken Denture
Do not wear broken dentures. Take them out and bring them with you to your emergency appointment. While you wait for treatment, eat soft foods.
How We Treat Broken Dentures
Although some minor repairs or adjustments can be made in our office, when dentures break, the most likely treatment is to replace them altogether. In this case, we will need to take impressions of your arches and send this information to our dental lab for fabrication. Or we can talk about the possibility of dental implants as a more permanent solution.
After your baby teeth have all come out, your permanent, adult teeth should remain stable. If one or more start to feel loose, it can be unsettling, and it is certainly something we should check out sooner rather than later.
How You Should Handle Loose Permanent Teeth
Try not to disturb the loose tooth. Avoid chewing or eating with that area of your mouth, and when you brush and floss, be extra careful with the tooth.
How We Treat Loose Permanent Teeth
Loose permanent teeth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. If we find that this is the case, we can administer treatment right away. Keep in mind that, if the damage to the jawbone is extensive enough, we may need to remove the tooth. At that point, we can talk about replacement with dental implants or dentures.
Is an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue a Dental Emergency?
At Pioneer Greens Dentistry, we are concerned about your entire mouth, not just the teeth. If you experience an injury to the gums or other soft tissues, we should examine you to make sure that no other damage has been done.
How You Should Handle an Injury to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue
Your first priority in this situation is to control any bleeding. Gently press a clean cloth or gauze to the soft tissue injury. Bleeding should stop within about 10 minutes. If it continues beyond this point, it could be a sign of a serious medical issue, which means you should go to the emergency room.
How We Treat Injuries to the Gums, Lips, or Tongue
Most of the time, soft tissue injuries heal best on their own with time. If necessary, we can provide stitches to help this process. Even without stitches, we need to double check that the underlying oral structure has not been harmed.
It depends. If your jaw joint is restricted or painful to the point that you cannot eat or talk, it absolutely is a dental emergency. If it only causes some mild discomfort, you can probably wait until your next checkup appointment to tell us about it.
How You Should Handle Jaw Pain
To avoid aggravating your jaw pain, try to stay away from hard, crunchy, or chewy foods. You can also apply a cold and/or heat pack to your face to help loosen tense muscles and soothe some of the discomfort.
How We Treat Jaw Pain
First, we need to examine your jaw and mouth carefully and identify an underlying cause. From there, we can help you find the right treatment solution, such as bite realignment, an oral appliance to stop bruxism or grinding your teeth during sleep, or stress relieving exercises.
Whether it is a popcorn shell or another piece of food, you are bound to have something come between your teeth at some point. It can put pressure on them, and if left there, this piece can actually cause your teeth to slowly shift, which means you should remove it as soon as possible. Gently floss in between your teeth to ease the object out. If flossing doesn’t work, contact our office for an urgent appointment. Do not try to pry or scrape between your teeth with a knife, toothpick, or another sharp instrument. You could damage your teeth or soft tissues.
Should You Go to the ER for a Dental Emergency?
If you are facing a life-threatening condition, such as uncontrolled bleeding, a broken jaw, or difficulty swallowing, go to your local ER. For every other dental emergency, coming to us first will likely save you a lot of time, money, and discomfort.
In a dental emergency, you can easily feel panicked and want to go to the ER for immediate help. However, most emergency rooms are not equipped or staffed to handle these dental problems. In fact, most of the time, all they can do is prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. Instead, dental emergencies can be best handled by one of our experienced dentists, who can actually treat the cause of the problem. Plus, we will likely be able to see and treat you a lot sooner.
Understanding the Cost of Dental Emergencies
At Pioneer Greens Dentistry, we believe that everyone should be able to afford the dental care they need, especially when they are in pain. That’s why we encourage patients to contact us immediately if they experience a dental emergency so that we can fix the problem before it causes more damage to their smile and their wallet.
What Happens If I Do Not Take Care of My Dental Emergency?
If you are concerned about finances, you may be tempted to “tough it out” on your own and wait for your situation to improve. The problem is that it won’t get better without professional treatment. In fact, the longer you postpone getting an injured or painful tooth treated, the worse your situation is likely to become. In other words, what requires a small amount of dental work now can require much more intensive, and thus expensive, treatment later down the road.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Emergencies?
The answer to this question depends on many factors, including the treatment you need and what insurance plan you have. Overall, the more complex the treatment, the higher the cost. Similarly, insurance coverage tends to focus on early intervention and the most conservative option. When you come in with your dental emergency, our team can evaluate your dental insurance plan and let you know what you’ll be expected to pay out-of-pocket. We will be happy to work with you to make treatment more affordable with flexible financing.
Keys to Preventing Dental Emergencies
Whenever you or a loved one has a dental emergency, you can depend on the Pioneer Greens Dentistry team to take care of your needs quickly. However, it is always better to prevent the dental emergency altogether, sparing you from experiencing unnecessary pain, stress, and damage to your teeth. And believe it or not, protecting your smile from accidents and severe pain is actually rather simple. Here are some actions you can take to steer clear of dental emergencies in the future.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene Habits at Home
A vast majority of toothaches can be avoided if you implement healthy oral habits into your lifestyle. What are these habits? You need to brush for two minutes twice a day and floss daily to clear out plaque and bacteria. Then, every six months, you need to come into our Lincoln dental office for a checkup and cleaning. These regular visits allow us to catch any problems while they are still developing—before they cause you pain. We also remove plaque that has calcified, stopping issues from developing down the road.
Do Not Bite Down on Hard Objects
Your tooth enamel is the hardest material in your body and is designed to help your teeth grind foods for digestion, but that does not mean it is indestructible. This protective outer layer can chip away or become worn down when placed under immense stress. When you chew on excessively hard foods or objects, you put your teeth at risk for cracking, chipping, or breaking. Some of these things to avoid chewing on include pens or pencils, fingernails, ice, popcorn kernels, hard candy, and more.
Wear a Mouthguard for Sports and Bedtime
Are you active in sports? A hard impact to the mouth can cause dental injury or even force a tooth to come out completely. If you play football, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, or any other sport where contact can occur, you need to wear a mouthguard to absorb that impact without damaging your smile. You can find many mouthguards in sports stores; however, they can feel uncomfortable or not give you the proper fit. Your safest bet is to get a custom mouthguard from us here at Pioneer Greens Dentistry.
If you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, your teeth can wear down and weaken more quickly than normal. We can provide a special mouthguard that you wear during the night to separate the upper and lower teeth. As a side benefit, you may find that your jaw muscles also relax, alleviating any jaw pain or headaches you may experience.
Use Tools, Not Teeth to Open Packaging
Instead of opening packaging with your teeth, take a minute or two to locate and get the scissors out and open the container properly. Although finding the appropriate tool can feel inconvenient in the moment, treating a painful, preventable dental emergency is far worse! Your smile—and your wallet—will thank you for it later.
Dental Emergency FAQs
When something goes wrong, many questions can rush into your mind in a stressful frenzy. We are hoping to answer some of these questions for you, give you peace of mind, and let you know what to do. Read our responses below, and do not hesitate to contact us if you are experiencing a dental emergency in Lincoln and are not sure what to do. We will happily help however we can and schedule an appointment to address the problem as soon as possible.
Will my toothache go away on its own?
In general, tooth pain does not simply fix itself. In fact, if your tooth pain comes from decay, it will only get worse with time and must be addressed with a dental professional immediately. In some cases, severe pain may go away, but that is usually a sign that the tooth nerve has died, in which case, the entire tooth probably needs to be extracted. If you want to save your natural teeth, it is never a good idea to postpone treatment for tooth pain.
My chipped tooth doesn’t hurt. Do I still need to have an emergency visit?
If you are not feeling discomfort in the immediate aftermath of chipping a tooth, you probably could wait a day or two if necessary for an appointment. However, you do need to see us soon after the injury because the enamel will not heal itself. The unprotected inner layers of your tooth could be vulnerable to breaking further or becoming decayed. As a result, a chipped tooth, whether it hurts or not, should be handled by a professional quickly.
How can I sleep with a toothache?
Depending on when you call our office, we may not be able to see you on the same day as when your toothache starts. If you must endure a night with tooth pain, you can make yourself as comfortable as possible by keeping your head elevated to prevent excess blood rushing and pressing on the tooth’s nerve. You may also take over-the-counter pain reliever as directed, which should be enough to reduce your discomfort to sleep, and putting a cold compress on your face can also help numb the area.
Is a knocked-out baby tooth a dental emergency?
Yes, this situation is a dental emergency. Although baby or primary teeth are supposed to come out eventually, losing them prematurely due to an injury could cause trouble for your child’s smile. If this kind of scenario happens, we strongly encourage you to bring your child in for examination. We will not re-implant the tooth, but we need to make sure the permanent tooth under the gums is unharmed and is lined up to erupt properly.