In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Government of Ontario has declared a state of emergency, which enforces the recommendation by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) that dentists should only provide care for true emergencies at this time. We are offering emergency care only for our current patients at this time.

But what constitutes a “true emergency”? The RCDSO recognises four categories of true emergency.

Young female paramedic stands in front of her ambulance

Dental Pain

One of the most common types of dental emergencies is dental pain. This is considered an emergency if it can’t be managed with over-the-counter medications.

If you have dental pain, start by taking the medications you have at home. Since dental pain is often related to swelling of the tooth pulp in the confines of the tooth, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sometimes work better for controlling discomfort. Follow the instructions on the label.

If taking medications according to the instructions does not control your pain, you can call us. We will talk to you about your pain and your medical condition to decide if it might be safe to take more than the recommended dose on a short-term basis or if you might benefit from a prescription medication instead.

In some situations, we might also recommend that you come in for treatment.

Oral-Facial Trauma

Another common dental emergency is trauma to the mouth or face. While you may not be out driving nearly as much as in the past and you’re not at work, most oral-facial traumas actually occur at home or during recreational activities. These can be due to falls, roughhousing with kids, or home improvement accidents.

Consider it an emergency if your dental trauma:

  • Chips a tooth
  • Cracks a tooth
  • Loosens a tooth
  • Knocks a tooth out

If you experience any of these effects, please contact us and we can walk you through first aid and assessment of your condition. Then we can decide if you need to come in for further care such as restorative dentistry like a dental crown.

Prolonged Bleeding

Most bleeding that people experience in their mouth is related to gingivitis, minor gum disease. If your teeth bleed when you brush or floss, it’s time to assess your oral hygiene routine to make sure it’s effective but gentle on your gums.

However, if you experience “spontaneous” bleeding or significant bleeding related to eating, it could be an emergency. First, try to control bleeding at home by applying pressure to the bleeding site with gauze or a teabag.

Bleeding should stop within a few minutes, but if it persists, recurs multiple times over 24 hours, or is so severe that blood pools in your mouth, contact us.


A dental infection is the most serious dental emergency because it has the potential to become life-threatening if left untreated. Symptoms of a serious dental infection include:

  • Pain (spontaneous, severe, and uncontrollable)
  • Discharge from the tooth or gums
  • Bad breath or a foul taste in the mouth
  • Discoloured tooth
  • Pimple-like sore on the gums
  • Localised warmth
  • Fever

If you experience several of these symptoms, it’s likely that you have an infection that needs to be treated. Many people think that you always experience pain related to an infected tooth. However, while pain is common, it’s not always the case that an infected tooth will hurt.

Note about Fever: In addition to being a symptom of a serious dental infection, fever is also a common symptom of COVID-19. If you have a fever combined with respiratory symptoms such as coughing or difficulty breathing, contact a doctor about your condition.

We Are Here for Emergency Care in Kanata

Dental emergencies need to be treated with urgency. The longer they’re left untreated, the worse complications may be. If you are part of our patient family and experience a dental emergency, we are here for you. Please call 613.271.7091 today for an appointment with Ottawa dentist Dr. Andrea Stevens in Kanata.