If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.

What is a Dental Emergency?

Dental emergencies can have many causes, including accidents, sports-related injuries, tooth decay and infection. You may have a dental emergency if you have any of the following:

  • A traumatic injury to your mouth, jaw or teeth
  • Severe pain that you cannot control with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Severe swelling in your mouth, face or nec
  • NOTE: If you have trouble breathing or your mouth continuously fills with blood, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.

What to expect

Once the dentist reviews your situation over the phone, he or she may meet you right away or see you as soon as possible during regular office hours, or
may also refer you to another dentist or to your local hospital if appropriate. The dentist may tell you things you can do at home to help ease your symptoms and may also prescribe medication by phone. It is important to follow the instructions given to you.
You can also contact HealthLink BC online or by phoning 8-1-1. This 24-hour-a-day service gives you easy access to non-emergency health and dental information and services.

Preventing dental emergencies

Not all dental emergencies can be prevented but you can take steps to reduce problems that can lead to an emergency.

  • Practice good oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly
  • See a dentist as soon as pain or problems start — before they become severe
  • Wear protective equipment like mouth guards and helmets when playing sports
  • Wear seatbelts while riding in a car

More information on dental emergencies can be found here.