Based on recommendations and guidance from the CDC, the governor’s office and the California Department of Public Health, the California Dental Association is advising dental practices to limit patient treatment to emergency care only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regular dental services are temporarily closed at all NCHS Dental sites. Dental Services not available due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders include:
- Routine permanent fillings
- Check-up Examinations & Cleanings
- Dental prosthetic work, dentures, partials, including repairs
- Complicated Oral Surgery extractions
- Root canals
- Repair of broken fillings or broken teeth that are not at risk for infection
How do we define “life-threatening” dental emergencies?
As health care providers, dentists understand their patients’ conditions and use their professional judgment to diagnose if a patient is experiencing a true dental emergency and determine if it is appropriate to treat with the appropriate PPE. Dental emergencies will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by telephone or video conference with a dentist, to determine the appropriate and necessary timing of in-person treatment.
What are some examples of “life-threatening” dental emergencies?
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Bacterial infection that is causing swelling in the soft tissues of the face or neck (cellulitis)
- Swelling in the head or neck that is causing difficulty breathing or swallowing
What can I do in the meantime?
- Over-the-counter pain reliever medications such as Motrin/Ibuprofen, Aleve/Naproxen, Tylenol/Acetaminophen.
- Maintain oral cleanliness, keeping open areas free from food debris
- Some over-the-counter dental emergency products can be used for temporary lost filling and loose cap (crown) repair.
- For gingival, gum-related pain: warm salt-water or hydrogen peroxide rinses diluted 50/50 with plain water.
- Ora-Gel type topical pain relievers, work best for soft tissue or gum-related pain; less helpful for tooth-related pain.
- Soft diet, smaller bites, favoring chewing on the opposite side, etc.