Patient Care 

Find useful forms, flowcharts and more to outline office procedures and infection control protocols.


Defining "emergency treatment"

March 23, 2020 2395

Information about what constitutes an “emergency procedure” that would require treating a patient.

As healthcare providers, dentists understand their patients’ conditions and use their professional judgment to diagnose a true dental emergency and determine if it is appropriate to treat with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). If left untreated, some dental infections can lead to life-threatening conditions. Dental emergencies should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate and necessary timing of in-person treatment.

Dentists should use the same process for triaging patients prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and deciding how to appoint them. Dentists should exercise their judgement based on the information presented by the patient to determine whether the patient needs to be seen within 24 hours or in a couple of weeks.

Proceed with treatment if the patient is in pain, if infection is present or if postponing treatment for a few weeks would severely inhibit normal operation of a patient’s teeth and mouth or negatively impact their health. Patients who have received recent treatment requiring the removal of sutures would also be considered appropriate for treatment. All other treatments can be delayed until the COVID-19 crisis has eased.