True dental emergencies arise from time to time and can include severe dental pain, rapid swelling, significant post operative bleeding or injuries to the mouth and teeth. Any of these situations require timely intervention and should be treated right away. However, when an emergency arises after hours or on a weekend, many people are unsure of how to find someone to help.
What should I do if I have a dental emergency?
Fortunately, in Brant County, if you should find yourself or someone in your family suffering with a true dental emergency there are ways to access care after hours.
The first thing you should do is call your own dental office. Some dentists have extended office hours into the evening and on weekends. Others may have after hours access numbers so they can respond to emergencies for their own patients. If you are unable to reach your own dentist or do not have a dentist, the County has an on-call ser vice in which several dentists from our community par ticipate.
Access to this service is provided through either the emergency department at the BGH or through the walk-in clinics. When seen by an emergency physician you may receive treatment then and there in the form of antibiotics and/or pain medication if that is appropriate.
If the problem requires the immediate attention of a dentist, the doctor will page the dentist on call. The on-call dentist may attend to you in the emergency room and provide preliminar y treatment there, or they may arrange to see you in their office.
What are considered dental emergencies?
The treatment provided by the on-call dentist is meant to relieve pain, infection, control bleeding or to provide stabilization of damaged or dislodged teeth.
Patients are then referred back to their family dentist for follow-up care and definitive treatment. If you do not have a dentist, and the on-call dentist is accepting new patients, you may choose to continue your care with that dentist.
A common misconception is that emergency dental care is covered by OHIP if provided in the hospital. Unfortunately this is not the case and you will be responsible for the fees incurred for treatment rendered either through your dental benefits plan, or personally if you don’t have a plan.
Prevention is key
Of course the best way to deal with a dental emergency is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The use of proper protective gear during contact spor ts, seeing your dentist for regular check ups and dealing with potential problems early can all go a long way to prevent the aggravation of sitting for hours in a busy emergency room with an ice pack on your face at 2 o’clock in the morning.