Even without a national pandemic going on, it can be difficult to tell when you have a problem that warrants a visit to an emergency dentist. Without the proper timely care, a small problem that isn’t currently causing you grave discomfort can turn into something more serious down the road. Read on to learn what services your emergency dentist is providing during COVID-19 and how you can tell if you need urgent treatment.
Are Dentists Open During COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place?
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and the CDC recommended that everyone self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus, the ADA released a statement recommending that all dentists postpone elective procedures and focus on solely providing emergency care. This was in an effort to prevent a flood of dental emergency patients going to already-overwhelmed emergency rooms where they may not be able to receive the best possible specialized care. So, in short, yes, your dentist is likely open and only taking emergency patients in an effort to reduce office traffic and protect their patients and staff.
What’s Classified as a Non-Emergent Treatment?
If you’re diligent about visiting your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning, you’ll likely need to accept that those visits are going to be postponed until the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. Among these routine preventive appointments, here are some other elective treatments that will be postponed until further notice:
- Orthodontic procedures that don’t address pain.
- The extraction of asymptomatic teeth.
- Restorative dental treatments.
- Cosmetic procedures that aren’t necessary to maintain your oral health.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if it’s not causing you pain or discomfort, it’s likely postponed until the CDC says it’s no longer necessary to self-isolate or social distance. While projections on how long this will last range from a couple of months to several months, it’s safe to say that you’ll need to primarily focus on keeping up with your dental hygiene at home for the foreseeable future.
How Do I Know if my Situation is an Emergency?
It can be difficult to tell whether or not your situation requires emergency care from a dentist. If you’re concerned and would like an opinion, many dentists are offering telehealth consultations beforehand to assess their patients’ need. This helps protect both the patients and professionals from any unnecessary exposure. Here are some treatments that are considered emergent and will still be carried out under COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders:
- Dental trauma that causes a broken, knocked-out, or cracked tooth
- Severe toothache
- Wisdom tooth pain
- Dry socket dressing changes
- Dental treatments required before a medical procedure
- Denture adjustments that will restore function
- Replacing temporary filling or restoration
If you have any doubt about whether or not you need urgent dental treatment, don’t hesitate to contact your emergency dentist’s office. They’ll offer you first-aid guidance over the phone and schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible if it’s necessary.
About the Practice
At New Image Dentistry, we offer the services and expertise of five highly knowledgeable dentists. With so much experience under one roof, we’re able to provide patients of all ages with high-quality, comprehensive dental care, including fast and effective emergency treatment. If you have a questions about dental emergencies or need to schedule an appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can visit our website or call 210-804-1558.