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Emergency Dentistry – Lawrence, KS

Relief from Dental Pain
When You Need It

A dental emergency is an extremely stressful and scary experience. The good news is that at Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence, you have two kind, knowledgeable dentists to turn to in the worst-case scenario. Dr. Heck and Dr. Beshore will make time to see you quickly for emergency dentistry in Lawrence, KS, and they’ll use the state-of-the-art technology at their disposal along with their extensive experience to narrow down the root of the problem and provide a successful treatment.

Man in need of emergency dentistry holding jaw in pain

Why Choose Heck Family Dentistry of Lawrence for Emergency Dentistry?

Common Dental Emergencies

Woman in need of emergency dentistry holding jaw in pain

No one definition properly describes all dental emergencies, but in general, you should take persistent oral pain and noticeable dental damage as warning signs that something is wrong with your mouth. The issue might be due to prolonged dental decay or a sudden accident. You’ll need to follow certain steps to take care of your teeth before it’s time for your appointment. The following tips can help you during specific common emergencies.

Animated facial profile with tooth signifying toothache


Rinse and floss thoroughly to get rid of anything trapped between your teeth. Ibuprofen and other kinds of pain medication can be used to control the pain while you’re waiting for an appointment. (Avoid aspirin; it could cause a burning sensation if it touches the tooth or the gums.)

Aniamted tooth with a crack

Chipped/Broken Tooth

Some chips and cracks are relatively minor, and others are serious enough that they could lead to an extraction. Protect what remains of the tooth’s structure by not chewing on the affected side of your mouth. You can hold a cold pack to your cheek to reduce swelling around the tooth.

Animated hand holding a tooth

Knocked-Out Tooth

You have about an hour to get to our dental office if you want us to successfully replant the tooth. Handle it by the crown at all times, and try to put it back in its socket if you can. You can hold it in place with your tongue. If it won’t go back in, you can keep it in a glass of milk instead. Make sure that it stays moist at all times so that the living cells attached to the root stay alive.

Animated tooth with a missing filling

Lost Filling/Crown

A lost restoration can temporarily be reattached to the tooth with a denture adhesive, sugar-free gum, or a dab of toothpaste. That should help hold it in place until we can either permanently reattach it or place a new one. The tooth will probably be sensitive, so take care to avoid any foods that are hot, cold, or hard to chew.

Protecting Your Smile from Dental Emergencies

Woman smiling while preventing dental emergencies in Lawrence

Unfortunately, dental emergencies can never be completely prevented because life is unpredictable. However, knowing the right steps to take if an urgent situation does occur will give you peace of mind and a way to get out of pain as soon as possible. That’s why we’ve included a list of how to prevent dental emergencies in Lawrence. Read on to make sure you’re prepared!

Visit Our Office Regularly

While dental emergencies simply can’t be planned for, your twice a year checkups and cleanings can! Make sure that you’re visiting our office at least twice a year for routine appointments. During these important visits, Dr. Heck will carefully examine your smile to catch any potential oral health problems early on. Plus, our trained hygienists will thoroughly clean your smile. Injuries can happen, but many urgent dental issues occur due to lack of proper dental care from a professional.

Maintain Your Dental Hygiene at Home

Just like visits to our office, your at-home dental hygiene is a vital step you can take to decrease the likelihood of an emergency occurring. Start by brushing twice a day for two minutes each session. Angle your brush at 45-degrees for the most effective cleaning. You should also floss once a day to remove lingering plaque and food debris from in between your smile. A nonalcoholic mouthwash can be a great addition to your routine because it cleans areas of your mouth that you couldn’t reach. By keeping your mouth clean, you can mitigate your chances of problems like toothaches and infection.

Stick to a Nutritious Diet

You may not be aware of it, but the foods you consume on a day-to-day basis directly impact the health of your smile. Maintaining a healthy diet by eating mouth-friendly foods like fruits and vegetables will dramatically lower your risk of decay and infection. That said, a sugary diet consisting of sodas, candy, sweets, and carbohydrates will increase the likelihood of these dental issues. The sugars from foods interact with the bacteria in your mouth to create acids that eat away at your teeth and gums. 

Wear a Mouthguard

If you play sports or physical activity, wearing a mouthguard will reduce the possibility of injury to your smile, and it also lessens concussive forces from trauma. We offer custom-made mouthguards for the best protection. You should also wear a nightguard if you have bruxism (teeth grinding). Without protection, your teeth will get worn down and begin to chip and crack.

Don’t Use Your Teeth as Tools

Your teeth should only be used to eat, speak, and smile. Avoid using your teeth to open packages, bottles, or anything else. You may think your teeth are handy tools but utilizing them in this manor can be incredibly harmful and dangerous. If you’re impatient when it comes to opening items, it’s worth it to keep scissors around so you’re not putting your oral health in jeopardy.

Understanding the Cost of Emergency Dentistry

Close up of a woman experiencing a dental emergency

There are many different kinds and degrees of dental injuries and oral pain. The kind of treatment that you’ll need will vary based on your situation. A complete examination is needed before we can give you an estimate for the services that we believe are necessary to save your smile. In the meantime, you can read on to learn about some of the factors that contribute to the price of your dental emergency below.

Close up of woman with hand on her cheek

Every Dental Emergency is Different

An emergency dental visit is usually relatively inexpensive. Our team will examine your smile, assess your needs, and determine what treatment will repair your teeth and get you out of pain. That said, it’s essentially impossible to predict the cost of your dental emergency without checking out the affected area in our office first to address the root of the problem. This will often require X-rays to get an inside look at the issue. Some of the most common emergency services we have to offer include:

  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extractions
  • Dental crowns
  • TMJ treatment
  • And more!

We will always explain our findings and recommendations as well as the associated cost, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Man in grey shirt smiling while brushing his teeth

Taking Care of Your Smile Can Save You Money

While some sudden dental emergencies can never be completely avoided, most issues occur due to unchecked infection and damage. That’s why maintaining a good oral healthcare routine on your own can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the future from avoided emergency dentistry.

If an emergency does occur, it’s vital that you get it treated right away. Dental problems will only get worse with time, so any associated costs you may be worried about will only get higher the longer you wait. For example, a simple root canal to remove infected tissue could easily turn into a tooth extraction if left to fester. Extractions are much more costly because you’ll need a replacement.

Man in blue denim shirt smiling in dental chair

Does Dental Insurance Cover Dental Emergencies?

Most dental insurance providers do offer some form of coverage for dental emergencies. Your plan may include coverage for one emergency exam each year, and the treatments associated with urgent care will usually get partially covered by 50% to 80%. Remember that every plan is different, which is why it’s important to confirm with your provider first. We are always happy to speak with them directly to learn more about your coverage. 

Woman in red shirt smiling while sitting in dental chair

Other Options for Making Dental Emergencies Affordable

We proudly accept dental insurance, but we also have other ways to make our quality emergency dentistry affordable for all budgets. We have alternative financing in the form of CareCredit, where patients can make low to no interest monthly payments. The best part is that you can pick your payment schedule based on your specific needs. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly front desk staff.

Handling the Most Common Dental Emergencies

Man with hand on his mouth who is experiencing a dental emergency

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes – from mild to severe. However, if you’re familiar with some of the most common urgent dental issues that can occur, you’ll be more prepared if you’re ever affected by a dental emergency in Lawrence. Read on to learn your next steps in the event of a dental emergency!

Something Stuck Between Your Teeth

Do you notice something stuck in between your teeth? The best step to take is to gently floss to try to remove it. Move your floss back and forth, creating a “C” shape around either tooth to dislodge the item or food. Floss is a great tool to keep on your person, so if you experience discomfort, you can find a bathroom and floss for quick relief. If there is still pain after you’ve flossed, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. You may have a toothache in Lawrence, which will require treatment.

Partially Dislodged Tooth

A partially dislodged or “extruded” tooth must be treated immediately. If you notice this issue, contact our office right away. Instead of trying to push it back into place, avoid touching it or chewing on the side of the affected tooth. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for your discomfort and use a cold compress on the side of your face to numb/prevent swelling. Once you get to our office, Dr. Heck will be able to determine whether he can move your tooth back into place. In some cases, the only way to get you out of pain is to perform an extraction.


An infection will often come with a warning sign in the form of an abscess. This is a pimple-like bump that forms near the affected tooth, and it can be incredibly painful. An infection shouldn’t be ignored because unlike other medical conditions, it will only get worse if left untreated, eventually impacting your oral and overall health. Contact our emergency dental office in Lawrence right away for treatment. In the meantime, you can rinse your mouth with saltwater to keep the area clean.

Gum/Soft Tissue Injury

Dental emergencies don’t always involve your teeth. In fact, your gums make up an important part of your oral health. If you scratch your gums, bite your tongue, or scratch your lip, you may quickly find out that the soft tissue can bleed easily. Place fresh gauze or a clean and damp washcloth over the area – the bleeding will usually subside. Once you’ve stopped the bleeding, you can use an ice pack or cold compress to make yourself more comfortable and reduce any possible swelling.

Jaw Pain

Jaw soreness can be attributed to a variety of problems, including teeth grinding, TMJ disorder, misalignment, and more. However, if you experience a true jaw injury, a fractured jaw, or you’re having trouble breathing, you should visit an urgent care facility right away. Jaw injuries like a broken jaw can be potentially life-threatening, which is why you should seek immediate medical attention if this occurs.

Emergency Dentistry FAQ’s

Woman who needs an emergency dentist holding a coffee mug

Still curious about emergency dentistry? For any specific concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us and speak to one of our friendly staff members. However, if you have a busy schedule, or you just like doing your own research, we’ve included the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dental emergencies below. Read on to learn more!

How Do I Know if I’m Having a Dental Emergency?

There are a variety of dental emergencies that can occur, so how do you know when you’re having a real one? The easiest way to tell is if you’re experiencing pain that is distracting you from your normal daily tasks. If so, your first step is to floss around the area and rinse your mouth to eliminate the possibility of an irritating piece of food. If your pain persists, contact our office right away for necessary treatment.

When Should I Visit the ER Vs. the Dentist?

If you’re having an emergency that is potentially life-threatening, you should always go to an urgent care facility for medical attention. These injuries include jaw fractures, deep facial wounds, difficulty breathing, and much more. However, for any other dental emergency like a broken or knocked out tooth, it’s best to visit our office. Our emergency dentist, Dr. Heck, has the training and technology necessary to repair your smile and get you out of pain, whereas an ER will have limited dental resources. When in doubt, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for assistance.

How Can I Give Myself Pain Relief at Home?

While there is absolutely no substitute for proper emergency treatment, there are some steps you can take to provide yourself with temporary relief. There are obviously over the counter pain medications to make yourself more comfortable, and you can use a cold compress to numb pain. However, if you’re in a real bind, used tea packets and crushed garlic have properties that can ease discomfort and sensitivity. Remember, as soon as you notice a problem with your smile, contact our office before it gets worse.

When is a Root Canal Necessary?

Root canal therapy is one of the most important treatments we have to offer because it can effectively save your damaged, decayed, or infected tooth from extraction. If you experience serious trauma, or you have decay that progressed into a toothache, a root canal is our last line of defense before extraction. We can remove the affected tissue while keeping the rest of your tooth intact. Before root canal therapy, the only way to provide patients with relief was to have the tooth extracted.

Is Tooth Sensitivity an Emergency?

Are your teeth sensitive when you eat or drink items that are hot or cold in temperature? Tooth sensitivity is an issue that affects about 1 in 8 Americans, and it’s only an emergency if it occurs suddenly and painfully. There are steps you can take to minimize your sensitivity, including the use of desensitizing toothpaste and wearing a nightguard to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.

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