In order for dentistry to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the ADA recommended in a March 16 statement that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks. “Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments,” the statement read.
Given the rapid and global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the responsibility of everyone – health care providers and fellow citizens – to do everything possible to reduce the spread of this infection. While there is no simple solution to balancing delivery of oral health care and minimizing the spread of the coronavirus, the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) recommends the following considerations:
- We agree with the CDC as well as professional organizations such as the ADA in recommending postponement of non-urgent oral health care for up to three weeks.
- Examples of urgent conditions requiring oral health care may include severe dental pain, abscess with lymphadenopathy, or a dental infection-related fever.
- If pharmacotherapy is insufficient, a recent review co-authored by Dr. Ken M. Hargreaves summarizes considerations for appropriate dental care. The article covers symptoms of coronavirus, routes of transmission, and patient management and prevention of nosocomial infection. Access the article at aae.org/covid.
- As of now, the impact of the epidemic varies across the country. Accordingly, the recommendations of your local and state dental societies should be reviewed.