Dental Emergencies

Regular Office Hours

On the days that the office is open we always put aside specific time for dental emergencies. Our office policy is to see patients with emergencies on that very day (if the office is open). For minor issues we are usually able to solve the problem on that day. For more involved work a follow-up appointment is required.

When our Office is Closed

When our office is closed, you can obtain specific emergency numbers by calling our office number (613) 739-1830. During holidays we will provide the number of the Dentist who will be covering our office.

The Ottawa Dental Society runs an emergency service that runs 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. You can find out the covering Dentist for today by calling (613) 523-4185

Dental Emergencies

When you are experiencing pain, swelling or discomfort, it is usually an indication that some form of treatment is required. We advise patients not to wait till something hurts in your mouth because usually more involved treatment is required. This is one of the reasons that we stress regular check-ups.

Some common problems we see in the office are listed below.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums are bleeding and it is not the result of an accident or trauma, this is an indication that you may have gum disease (periodontal disease). It is important to assess the severity of gum disease, as the treatment required can be very different. In it’s mildest form it can be treated with regular dental scaling/ cleanings. If the periodontal disease is more severe you may require gum surgery. It’s best to have a full periodontal exam and periodontal gum pocket charting done before proceeding with any particular treatment.

Cold Sensitivity

Almost always, cold sensitivity can be traced to problems with the nerve inside your tooth.

Mild sensitivity to cold that comes and goes is usually “Root Sensitivity”. Root sensitivity is caused by exposed or abraded root surfaces. Most often, this is characterized by sensitivity on the cheek side of your teeth (as opposed to the tongue side). The sensitivity is transient in that is it comes and goes and does not linger or is not painful for an extended period of time (ie. more than a minute).

Using toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth can usually alleviate this. For more involved root sensitivity our office can place a protective resin covering over exposed root services.

Extreme Pain to hot/cold and biting

If you are experiencing extreme pain to hot/cold and/or biting, this is a sign of something more serious. As well, if the pain lingers on, even after the cold/ hot is removed from your mouth, then this could mean that the nerve in your tooth is dying. This could mean the need for Root Canal treatment or an extraction.

Broken Teeth

When teeth are fractured in an accident or break off during eating, the tooth can in most instances be restored to natural form. With so many different technologies and restorative materials available today, restored teeth can usually be restored to look and function similar to the original.

It is important to call our office as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage that would involve more involved treatment.

Swelling in your face

If you are experiencing swelling in your face, this is sign of infection. It is quite possible that you have a dental abscess and it is important to call the office as soon as possible. These infections can grow and spread.

Avulsed Teeth (Teeth that have been knocked out)

The first thing to remember is that primary teeth (baby teeth) are not re-implanted after being knocked out. The patient will remain with an open space until the new tooth grows in.

An avulsed adult tooth is a different story. When an adult tooth is knocked out whole (ie. the whole tooth, with no fracture of the tooth), the preferred treatment is to re-implant the tooth back into the socket. Time is off essence!!!. If an avulsed tooth remains out of the socket for more than the critical time (30 – 90 minutes), the chances of it being reinserted successfully are slim. As well it is important NOT to let the avulsed tooth dry out. If it does the delicate periodontal fibres (gum fibres) that hold the tooth to the bone will be damaged irreversibly. Placing the tooth in some form of liquid medium (mild saline water, milk, plain water or even the mouth) is important.

You must see the dentist within a few hours to re-implant and splint the tooth or risk it being lost forever.