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What is Urgent Dental Care

How is everyone doing? Hope all is well!

Most of our team members are staying home and staying safe - soon going into Week 8 of COVID-19 quarantine. Our Front Line ALFIE Team members have been ensuring that people in need of urgent dental care are getting emergency services at our Willowdale Office. We are also doing our part to deliver our expertise via TeleDentistry video calls for non-urgent care. In either case, we can be reached at (416) 226-6688 to schedule you in.

Since all non-essential dental treatments are currently being postponed, we thought it would be useful to clarify - what is urgent care and what is non-essential dental care.


Urgent dental care services are treatments required immediately to alleviate pain or to relieve the risk of infection. This will include issues such as:

  • Severe dental pain stemming from inflammation of the pulp - this includes inflammation of blood vessels, nerves and/or connective tissues inside of a tooth.

  • Pain from pericoronitis (inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding a partially erupted tooth) or from wisdom teeth

  • Surgical post-operative osteitis (infection resulting in bone growth) and/or dry socket conditions (where after a surgical procedure is performed, the blood clot fails to develop or partially develops and is dislodged before the wound has completely healed)

  • Pain from an abscess or localized bacterial infection

  • If a tooth fractures and it causes pain, injury to the surrounding gum tissues and/or it exposes the pulp of the tooth

  • If a tooth is knocked out completely (avulsion) or partially dislocated (luxation) as a result of dental trauma

  • If a temporary bridge or crown comes out, breaks, or starts irritating the gums, then a permanent should be placed ASAP

  • Biopsy of abnormal lesions or tissues

  • If a root canal procedure was started and the temporary filling came out and the patient starts experiencing pain

  • Orthodontic emergencies - like a wire poking out or irritating the oral tissues

  • Treatments required before critical medical procedures


As mentioned earlier, we are taking emergency dental cases only for the time being. This means that all other services are suspended and this includes:

  • Routine x-rays and recall examinations

  • Hygiene appointments and other preventative services

  • Follow-up orthodontic appointments - except for cases where the patient experiences pain, infection, or dental trauma

  • Removal of asymptomatic teeth

  • Restoration of teeth, if they are asymptomatic

  • Cosmetic dental treatments, like whitening


We have some really amazing patients at ALFIE Dentistry! At the onset of the pandemic, we had quite a number of concerned callers asking whether they should postpone their upcoming appointments (that were already booked and in the schedule).

They were concerned about existing cavities progressing and they were concerned about not getting their routine check-ups (mostly if they were highly susceptible to dental issues in the past). Because they know that dental problems don't 'just disappear' and that they can worsen over time, if no actions are taken.

So here's what you can do:

1) Call our dental concierge to see if what you have is a Dental Emergency or not (416) 226-6688. If you are in need of urgent dental care services, we have implemented new protective measures at our offices to ensure a safe environment. For example, we are taking temperatures of every person who comes into the office, as well as conducting a thorough screening for COVID-19 symptoms. We are also asking all visitors to stay in their cars until we have prepared their room. Upon entry and exit from our building, we are asking all individuals to sanitize their hands and practice healthy hand hygiene. This is not an exhaustive list, but just some examples of steps we are taking to ensure the safety of all patients as well as our team members.

2) Book a TeleDentistry appointment by calling our main line (416) 226-6688 - and we can arrange a mutually convenient time for you to speak to one of our dentists directly. This is a one-on-one video meeting with either Dr. Shirley or Dr. Kenny, so they can offer professional advice remotely during this time.

We have been using this technology for several weeks now, and it is useful if you have any pressing concerns that can only be answered by your dentist.

Patients who have already begun Invisalign® treatments are also able to connect to their doctor virtually. This allows us to prepare their next set of aligners for pick-up (or consult with Invisalign®, if adjustment need to be made for the patient's treatment plan), so their orthodontic progress doesn't have to come to a stand-still.

Again, these are just some examples of how we can apply TeleDentistry technology in our practice - and we have been receiving positive feedback from our users!

3) If you had visited us before lockdown and one of our dentists mentioned that:

  • They were keeping an eye out on a specific tooth or area of your mouth because they see an issue starting to happen there or

  • That you had a cavity or

  • That you needed to book back for any specific treatments (like a crown or bridge, etc) or

  • The hygienist asked you to pay more attention to particular areas in your mouth or

  • Etc

You can do your part to hopefully keep these issues from escalating! If you forgot which area you were supposed to focus on, call our concierge - we can look up the notes of your last visit and remind you what was communicated at that appointment.

And at home, you can make sure to brush super thoroughly and floss carefully - especially in the areas we had advised you to focus on as well as the areas where the dentist diagnosed existing dental problem(s). By paying extra careful attention to these parts of your mouth and cleaning them well, you can help to prevent cavities from getting bigger, you can help keep inflammation at bay, and you can help prevent infections from flaring up.

So follow the 'normal' recommendations of brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day - and then take some extra time to focus on improving the hygiene on your 'problem areas'. Floss thoroughly each time you brush. Rinse with mouth wash. Change to a new toothbrush every 3 months, or after you've taken ill.

Now that many of us have more time on our hands, it's also a great time to improve home dental care - especially if you want to avoid having to come in for an emergency. So brush up on brushing up and floss like a boss. And once lockdown restrictions are lifted, then book yourself in.

We'll all get through this together!


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