April 4 update on What Constitutes a Dental Emergency

As you know from our previous messages, our local Public Health Department issued information earlier this week about allowable dental practice that conflicted with the CDC/ADA/CDA/SCCDS and OSHA recommendations that dentists perform only emergency care during the current COVID-19 crisis.
 
Early this morning, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department revised its mandate:
 
Dentists are NO LONGER permitted to perform routine, preventive dental treatments. Per CDC/ADA/CDA guidelines, only the following will be allowed until further notice:
Dental emergency treatment for conditions that are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection and include:
  
  • Cellulitis or a diffuse soft-tissue bacterial infection with intraoral or extraoral swelling that can potentially compromise the patient's airway.
  • Trauma involving facial bones, potential compromising the patient's airway.
 
 
In addition, dentists performing emergency services in any of the bay area counties must complete the attached social distancing protocol template and provide it to their staff members, patients and post it on all doors of their facility. Social distancing requirements are mandatory. Here is the county template: template.
 
And here is a link to the April 4, 2020 SCCPHD message: 
 
Although it is difficult to not be able to practice, we are grateful to several of our members and CDA for their strong advocacy to get clear direction for the near future.
Author
Meng Syn DDS Partner at Almaden Dental Associates

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