All non-emergency dentistry is being suspended amid concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The Alberta Dental Association and College sent a notice to all Alberta dentists this week, imposing a mandatory suspension of all non-urgent dental treatment and services.
Dentists can provide only emergency treatment, such as treating oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications.
According to the college: “It is appropriate to provide needed care that, if left untreated, becomes a more significant burden on our health-care resources and significantly compromises patient health.”
Dentists must, at minimum, provide telephone access to address patients’ continuity of care.
But even in emergency situations, a pre-screening of patients and a risk assessment — to patients, the dentist, and the community at large, is strongly recommended before any treatment is undertaken.
A capacity to provide appropriate protective equipment must also be assessed before treatment can be initiated.
“Dentists in Alberta have a duty to prevent exposure to an infection from COVID-19,” states the college.
“If risks are identified that cannot be immediately or succinctly mitigated, the determined care must be postponed or referred to an appropriate provider.”
The college is developing a list of facilities capable of accepting symptomatic patients.