COVID-19: ADA urges to provide Dental emergency treatment only

In the wake of risks posed by the recent outbreak of COVID-19 and the growing health concerns, American Dental Association (ADA) has released some guidelines to provide better guidance to the dentists in determining a need for patient’s urgent or emergency care.

By Suhaib Ahsan

Though ADA recognizes that every country and their dental associations must be able to recommend dentists in their regions the amount of time to keep their clinics closed to all except for patients who needs emergency care.

However, these guides may change as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.

What are Dental Emergencies?

Dental Emergencies are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to:

  • Stop ongoing tissue bleeding
  • Alleviate severe pain or infection.

What Urgent dental care means?

Urgent dental care focuses more on conditions that require immediate attention to:

  • Alleviate severe pain or risk of infection
  • reduce the burden on hospital emergency.

They should be treated as soon as possible.

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Third-molar pain
  • Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes
  • Bacterial infection resulting in pain and swelling
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation
  • Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures
  • Bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation
  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue
  • Extensive dental caries or defective restorations causing pain
  • Manage with interim restorative techniques when possible (silver diamine fluoride, glass ionomers)
  • Suture removal
  • Denture adjustment on radiation/ oncology patients
  • Denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded
  • Replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain
  • Snipping or adjustment of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing

So, which of the dental Procedures are called NON EMERGENCY?

 Routine or non-urgent dental procedures includes but are not limited to:

  • Initial or periodic oral examinations and recall visits, including routine radiographs
  • Routine dental cleaning and preventive therapies
  • Orthodontic procedures other than those to address acute issues (e.g. pain, infection, trauma)
  • Extraction of asymptomatic teeth
  • Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions
  • Aesthetic dental procedures
March 23, 2020

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