How can a cancer patient get free emergency dental care in Ottawa?
November 6, 2013 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I am grinding my teeth at night and they are breaking. I have no income, benefits, insurance or money. I need help quite quickly.

I live in Ottawa, Canada. In March I had a major tumour removed. Since then I have undergone 12 sessions of chemo. I suspect my teeth have become weakened and some of them have cracked. I have a molar that has snapped in two and is half-exposed pulp, for example.

I don't have an income. I have no benefits and my Unemployment Insurance has run out. I have no money left and would not qualify for welfare. I am unable to stand in line for great lengths of time. I do not want to sit in an emergency room to have them yanked. I would like them saved, if possible.

Due to the chemo and my generally crappy health, I have very weak concentration and am quite emotionally erratic. If you have a concrete suggestion that can result in my getting emergency dental care in the next 48-hours, please let me know. If you do not, please do not respond whatsoever.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a resource that would help you track down emergency dental services in Ottowa.

Regarding cost, it isn't necessarily free, but perhaps you could call to see what your options would be. If anyone is aware of free emergency dental options available in your area, perhaps a network like this could point you in the right direction. Also, perhaps you would find a dentist would would be willing to do some pro bono work, or at least work at a discount, based on your situation. Some dentists also allow reasonable payment plans.

Also, if you are interested in preventing additional damage, they sell mouth guards that you can wear at night for grinding problems.

Good luck. I hope you are able to find some relief for your circumstance.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:06 AM on November 6, 2013

Get a referral from a doctor- OHIP may cover this. They will cover services that are not typically covered if a doc refers you.

There are also probably emergency dental clinics that are pay-what-you can in a city the size of Ottawa.

Alternatively, if you can get to Toronto, there are several affordable dental clinics here.
posted by windykites at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2013

From this page:

Dental help for adults and seniors with low income

Limited emergency dental care may be available. Call the Community and Social Services Department at 613-560-6000 for more information.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:38 AM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't help with the repairs, but to prevent further damage go today to your local drugstore and buy a cheap boil and bite night guard. They aren't as nice as the custom ones you get from the dentist, but it will hold you over for a while so the problem doesn't get any worse. They are cheap.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:41 AM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, was going to say that what you should do as a short-term solution is get a bite guard. If the ones at the pharmacy are still too expensive for you you can get them even cheaper at a sports store (do still the the boil-and-bite kind though). The sports store ones are even less nice than the pharmacy kind, but they will still work.

If you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw during the day as well, try sticking your tongue in there. I get some slight jaw-clenching as a side effect of a medication I'm on, and that's what I do. It cushions the teeth and reminds me to stop biting.
posted by Scientist at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2013

Contact the Ottawa branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, 1-888-939-3333, Monday through Friday. I would think they'd have a line on resources that could help! This is exactly the kind of thing these organizations are there for—making the kind of connection you need to make right now. And if you don't have the energy to make that call, let us know—I bet someone here would be willing to call on your behalf.
posted by limeonaire at 11:35 AM on November 6, 2013

Another vote for a cheap boil up mouthguard. I got mine at kmart for $8. It's actually really comfortable (I have a smallish female jaw so I bought the "junior" one, ymmv).
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2013

To add: I bet someone local would be happy to buy the mouthguard for you and post it so you don't have to go to the shop
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 2:31 PM on November 6, 2013

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