Most everyone has been watching the news about COVID-19, and how the virus affects our daily lives. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to visit your dentist for a regular check-up. And, some dentists may have service limitations to keep their staff and the community safe.
Are you wondering what to do if you have a toothache or a dental emergency? Here are some answers to often-asked questions to help you care for your oral health during these confusing times.
What are dentists doing to prevent COVID-19?
Our dental practices closely follow the recommended guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC states, "As dental healthcare facilities begin to restart elective procedures in accordance with guidance from local and state officials, there are precautions that should remain in place as a part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel (DHCP)."
Within 24 hours of your appointment, or upon arrival, a staff member will provide a screening. The screening must be completed before you will be allowed to go inside the practice.
Before you receive care, we require:
- You, and anyone that accompanies you, to wear a mask or face covering while in the practice. A patient should wear a mask or face covering except when they are receiving care.
- If a minor is scheduled to receive dental care, they should be accompanied by only one adult (parent or guardian), and only if necessary.
- A staff member will take your temperature with a digital forehead thermometer to detect a fever.
- That you answer a few screening questions, usually about your recent contact with others, and if you have any signs or symptoms that are consistent with a COVID-19 infection.
Our dentists have taken additional safety measures including:
- Removing unnecessary objects from the waiting room including magazines, patient reading material, TV remotes, children's toys, and table décor.
- Requesting that you fill out the required paperwork before arriving for your appointment.
- Asking you to arrive just before your appointment instead of arriving early.
- Arranging the seating so you can maintain as much distance as possible from others in the waiting room.
What if I have a toothache and my dentist is closed?
Call your dentist's office. If they do not answer, leave a message or call the after-hours emergency line, 866.268.9631. A dental professional will ask you a few questions to assess whether your dental condition is urgent or a dental emergency.
Urgent dental care – a condition that requires immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection.
Dental emergency – a dental emergency is one that is potentially life-threatening, and that requires immediate treatment to:
- Stop uncontrolled bleeding
- Remedy a bacterial infection that could interfere with a person's ability to breathe or swallow
- Resolve trauma involving facial bones, that could interfere with a person's ability to breathe
- Treat cellulitis or a tissue bacterial infection that could interfere with a person's ability to breathe