Emergency Dentistry Services
At Enamel Republic, we use our lunch hour to accommodate dental emergencies so that we can see our patients same-day. If you are new to our office, don’t worry, as we are accepting new patients! We also participate in a local on-call emergency service arranged by the Waterloo-Wellington Dental Society. This enables our patients to have access to after-hours emergency service with either Dr. Hornby or other local Dentists. To book an emergency appointment, please call our office at (519) 576-8160.
Common Dental Emergencies and Related Information
Sensitivity or Toothache
If you are experiencing spontaneous tooth sensitivity to pressure, hot, cold, sweet, and/or acidic stimuli (and it is unrelated to recent treatment) you should arrange for an assessment with our office. Following placement of fillings, crowns, or bridges it can often take 1-4 weeks for these symptoms to gradually diminish and this process is entirely normal. Sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet and or acidic stimuli can indicate the presence of a cavity or a leaking filling/restoration. If this is the case, treatment will be required to eliminate symptoms. In some situations, sensitivity is due to gum recession and an exposed root surface. In these instances, treatment might not be required and your symptoms may be resolved by the application of anti-sensitivity toothpastes. Pressure sensitivity or toothache can often be related to presence of a tooth- or gum-related infection/abscess. Occasionally, these symptoms are associated with bruxing or grinding of teeth during daytime or nighttime. Please contact our office to have your symptoms assessed so that we can help to make you comfortable again.
Localized swelling of soft tissues is commonly associated with odontogenic (tooth-related) or periodontal (gum-related) infection. Tooth-related infection or an “abscessed tooth” typically manifests as a “gum boil”, “bump”, or “gum pimple”. This is often accompanied by dull biting pain or discomfort. Emergent, non-definitive, treatment involves a regimen of prescription antibiotics. Definitive treatment of tooth-related infection involves root canal treatment or extraction of the affected tooth. In the event that you experience a larger swelling expanding toward the eye (from an upper tooth) or under the jaw or around the throat (from a lower tooth), go directly to the emergency department at your local hospital as intravenous antibiotics are likely to be required.
Broken or Detached Orthodontic Wires, Brackets or Retainers
In the event that you experience a broken or detached orthodontic wire or bracket, you are at risk of minor soft tissue (tongue or cheek) injury. Call our office as re-bonding of brackets and retainer wires is a short and simple procedure. In the interim, you can purchase orthodontic wax at any major pharmacy – form a small ball with the wax and place over any sharp exposed contours to minimize risk of soft tissue trauma.
Broken or Fractured Tooth
In most cases, broken or fractured teeth can be repaired by a simple filling or crown. Less frequently, teeth may break near to or exposing the dental pulp or nerve and root canal treatment may be required. Rarely, a fracture extends through the entire tooth or deep under the gumline rendering the tooth unrestorable or “un-fixable” and will require extraction. Until treatment can be completed, discomfort can be minimized by chewing away from the affected tooth and avoiding temperature extremes. Even though your broken tooth might not be uncomfortable, do not defer consultation or treatment as prolonged exposure of the tooth’s interior may result in severe infection.
Tooth Trauma or Lost Tooth
Sometimes teeth receive high impact trauma during sports, falls, etc.,. This is especially common in children during early walking stages. When a child receives a traumatic blow to the teeth, an immediate dental examination is required. Often, a mobile or loose tooth/teeth will be splinted to allow healing. When a baby tooth is lost during trauma it should not be replanted in the socket as this could lead to ankylosis, a process by which bone heals directly against the tooth root. This can lead to complications when the baby tooth is due to exfoliate and be replaced by an adult tooth. If your child’s baby tooth is knocked loose, clean it and place it in a small container filled with milk. Bring it to your emergency appointment for a full assessment.
When an adult tooth receives a traumatic blow and is loosened, splinting will provide stabilization so that the gums and periodontal ligament can heal properly around the tooth’s root. Occasionally, a root canal treatment is required should an abscess form around the root of the tooth. You should avoid biting and/or chewing of food with the traumatized tooth/teeth. Where an adult tooth is knocked out of its socket, clean the tooth, place in a small container filled with milk, and bring it with you to your dental appointment.
How Much are Emergency Dental Appointments?
Emergency dental examinations (not including any required treatment) are billed according to the Ontario Dental Association Fee Guide. The 2019 Fee Guide suggests a cost ranging from $45 – $130, depending on the length of time required to provide a proper assessment. Radiographs (X-Rays) are an additional cost typically in the $30 – $80 range depending on the number and type of image required. These are purely assessment cost estimates and do not include the cost of potential necessary treatments. Best practice is to call your Family Dentist and inquire about fee ranges and estimates. It is also advisable to obtain a cost estimate in advance of any necessary treatment.