During the COVID-19 pandemic, every aspect of our lives has taken a drastic turn. And while many activities grind to a halt, health-related conditions don’t always follow the same strategy. Dental problems often occur at the most inopportune time, and our current situation amplifies that challenge.
The American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines currently recommend that dentists suspend elective care and provide emergency and urgent care only. In addition, many states have mandated similar restrictions. As a result, many dentists and patients find themselves with unprecedented treatment restrictions.
GUIDELINE GOALS: Prevent the spread of COVID-19 AND preserve supplies of Personal Protective Equipment for hospital providers.
The easiest definition of elective care is dental care that you can reschedule for another time without developing pain or infection in the near future. This includes:
Other procedures may fall onto this list, and the restrictions could change weekly. Some states have even seen different restrictions implemented in different counties.
True dental emergencies are problems that are potentially life-threatening and need immediate attention. Time is of the essence in these cases:
These conditions require immediate evaluation and treatment. If you’re unable to be seen by us or another dentist right away, an ER visit is warranted.
Urgent dental problems require immediate attention to treat severe pain and/or the risk of infection. Guidelines allow treatment of these problems:
Bottom Line: Conditions that involve bleeding, pain and/or infection are considered emergency or urgent care problems.
Our primary goal is to keep you safe, comfortable and pain-free. We want to accomplish that as conservatively as possible, and we try to minimize treatment as outlined in published guidelines. Also, we don’t want patients to end up in the ER unless it’s a life-threatening emergency.
Together, we’ll get through this. We’ll do everything we can to help you until this crisis passes, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.