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How to Handle a Dental Emergency During a Pandemic

Posted Apr 12th, 2023 in Emergency

Having a dental emergency is scary enough, but it's even worse when you have one during a global pandemic. Here, our Ottawa dentists discuss how to handle a dental emergency during a pandemic.

Do you have a dental emergency during COVID-19?

Most people will experience at least one dental emergency at some point in their lives. If you're experiencing one, your first instinct might be to go to the dentist, but this process can look a little different during a pandemic. Here are some steps you can take in these changed circumstances:

Define your emergency

The first thing to do is to determine whether you have an urgent dental emergency that needs a dentist’s immediate attention. If you’re experiencing any of the following, call us right away:

  • Chipped, broken or knocked out tooth
  • Toothache that you cannot remedy yourself with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Severe swelling on your face, neck or mouth
  • Ulcers in your mouth
  • Lost crowns or fillings
  • Sore or bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Teething

New Rules & Regulations Under COVID-19

If you visit our office during a dental emergency, we have protocols and precautions in place to treat you. Make sure you call ahead to ensure the dentist is in and available before coming in.

How should I handle a dental emergency during a global pandemic such as COVID-19?

By now, we’re all familiar with social distancing and pandemic safety rules, but how does that translate to the dentist’s office? Here are a few actions you can take:

Contact us early. Don’t hesitate to call if you are experiencing a dental emergency. We can provide advice over the phone and get you in as soon as possible. Bookmark this post, or type "dentist near me" into your favourite search engine and our information will likely pop up.

Apply ice. Hold an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area.

Locate the lost tooth. If you’ve lost a tooth, try to locate it and rinse it with water. Hold the tooth in the socket it fell out of, or place it in a container of milk. Your dentist may be able to attach it.

Answer screening questions. When you contact our office, your dentist or their staff will ask you pre-screening questions to learn whether you have any COVID-19 symptoms. If you do, we can refer you to another office or make alternate arrangements.

Wear a face mask and use hand sanitizer. Wearing a face mask and using 70 to 90 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering or leaving the building are two precautions to take.

Respect social distancing guidelines. We will get you an appointment as soon as possible. If you do need to wait in the waiting room, you’ll find chairs spaced 2 metres apart. There will be no magazines or other non-essential items as we try to reduce the number of touchable surfaces.

Dentists will wear protective gear. In addition to surgical face masks, your dentist and their staff will wear personal protective equipment during in-person appointments.

Attend your appointment alone. Plan to attend your appointment alone (exceptions are made for children or people who require assistance).

Pay via touchless payment. Plan to pay any balance owing on your appointment with your credit card or debit card.

If you think you're experiencing a dental emergency, contact our Ottawa dentists immediately before coming in. We will always do our best to accommodate you.

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