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When to get Emergency Dental Services

We see different types of people at the dental office all the time. There are some people who panic at every little thing. There are those at the opposite end of the spectrum who don't flinch at anything (and we really mean *anything* - like gum-disease-so-bad-your-teeth-are-falling-out kind of "anything"). And there are many people that are just simply in between.

As much as possible, we try to foster those in-betweeners and encourage people to:

  • keep up with excellent oral hygiene - including routine visits to the dental office

  • remain calm in cases of the unexpected

  • but also to seek professional help in a timely manner, when warranted

And we get it. When you're faced with a "Dental Emergency", sometimes that all just goes out the window. And that's valid. And of course, when something happens it has to happen at the most inopportune time. You might have an important meeting or you might have a business presentation or you may be a guest of honour at a wedding or some other pivotal life event. Or it could just be as simple as - your schedule just not syncing up with the doctors' schedules (and unfortunately, no one can cancel anything).

So, depending on the situation, here are some scenarios which should warrant same-day care (and when you call to book, ask if there are any special instructions you should follow in the meantime):

  • If there's swelling, redness and pain

  • Abscess infection - this usually results in a significant amount of discomfort (which would really have anyone calling for the dentist ASAP). Abscesses usually result from a collection of infected pus that localizes in one area and often manifest itself with the redness, swelling and pain as mentioned above

  • If a tooth is knocked out

  • Deep crack or extensively damaged tooth (e.g. some cracks go all the way to the nerve, some accidents result in extensively injured teeth, etc.)

  • Severe dental sensitivity to hot and cold

  • If there's a toothache

  • Injured front tooth. While this may not *actually* need immediate attention, if it affects your smile - you probably want it resolved as soon as possible. If it's a tiny chip or crack, it's also ok to wait.

  • If something gets stuck in between your teeth/gums and you can't get it out. If you try and try and try and it still doesn't come out, come in to have it removed. Leaving in fish bones, popcorn kernels, etc are a recipe for infection and complications down the road.

  • If an orthodontic wire is poking out or into the gums/cheek

  • Irritation from orthodontic appliance and you don't have any more wax

And here are some situations where it's ok to leave it for a little bit longer:

  • Chipped/minimally broken tooth (sometimes it IS hard to tell how severe a cracked tooth is, so if there's any doubt, see if you can get an appointment as soon as possible)

  • If our team recommends that you get some dental restorations like fillings, crowns, bridges, etc - this usually doesn't mean "right away". We create treatment plans that map out everything we see in your mouth - so it's more of a long-term course of action/solution. Ideally, you'd want to get things like fillings sooner rather than later (because they only get worse over time) - but they don't have to be done the same day that they are identified.

  • If after you receive dental treatment, there might be some sensitivity because the area was essentially disturbed. If it still doesn't go away after a couple of weeks, book yourself in for a review. (Please note, after a filling - if you experience a sensation on biting down - something that feels like a bit of a "shock", the filling may simply need to be adjusted - don't be afraid to ask for one if your filling was "too high")

  • If an existing filling/crown came off. Ideally, you'd want it redone/recemented asap, but if you keep the area clean enough, the next day should be fine to get treatment. You definitely don't want to go more than a couple of days - because the hole left wide open is a catch-all for bacteria, food particles and debris - which can lead to problems.

  • If an orthodontic button comes off, you should get it put back on as soon as possible - however, if there's no time in your schedule to make it in, it's still going to be ok if you wait a day or two.

  • If you're switching to a new set of Invisalign trays and it doesn't fit. No worries, continue wearing your existing set until you can get a new impression/set. Since you probably want to keep your teeth moving (and not delay treatment), you'd want to book your appointment as soon as possible. (You didn't hear it from me, but I've actually skipped a set of trays to the next one - because of the fit problem 🤫)

  • If you're feeling soreness from orthodontic braces or plastic aligners - this is normal. Your teeth are shifting and moving, so it's supposed to feel like something is happening.

  • If you've lost your retainer, come get a replacement as soon as possible, especially if you've only started wearing one recently. Failing to get prompt replacements may result in your teeth shifting back. So you don't have to get new ones the same day you lost them, but you definitely don't want to wait too long (otherwise it'd be a waste of expensive orthodontic treatment!)

And if you're in a situation that isn't listed above, or are still unsure (because yes, every person is different and may need special attention), feel free to give our concierge a quick call to see if you need to see one of our doctors right away, or if it's something that can wait a little bit. Our phone number is (416) 226-6688 and a short conversation with our staff can put your mind at ease.


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