As you may be aware, today NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that NZ is moving to Level 3 alert, with Level 4 coming in 48 hours.
As a result all non-essential dental services will be suspended. Emergency dental care is still available, however all potential patients will be pre-screened over the phone to assess whether they might be at risk of carrying Covid-19 and the urgency of treatment. Older patients (over the age of 70) should endeavour to stay at home.
As advised by the NZDA (New Zealand Dental Association), this protocol will be followed in order to determine eligibility:
Patient pre-screening before arrival at the practice for their appointment:
Patients should, when possible, be contacted by phone before arrival at their scheduled dental appointment and screened for COVID-19 risk.
Patients should be asked:
- Are you or anyone coming with you to your appointment feeling unwell?
- Have you, anyone coming with you to your appointment or anyone in your household returned from overseas in the past 14 days?
- Have you been in contact with a person with confirmed or suspicion of exposure to COVID-19 in the last 14-days
If the answer is YES to any of these questions, then any non-urgent treatment should be rescheduled until the person is well and/or the isolation period is completed. If the answer is ‘no’, then a routine appointment may proceed.
What counts as urgent treatment?
Urgent care includes treatment for:
- Dental and soft-tissue infections without a systemic effect
- Severe dental and facial pain: that is, pain that cannot be controlled by the patient following self-help advice
- Fractured teeth or tooth with pulpal exposure
Dental emergencies include:
- Trauma including facial/oral laceration and/or dentoalveolar injuries, for example avulsion of a permanent tooth
- Oro-facial swelling that is significant and worsening
- Post-extraction bleeding that the patient is not able to control with local measures
- Dental conditions that have resulted in acute systemic illness or raised temperature as a result of dental infection
- Severe trismus
- Oro-dental conditions that are likely to exacerbate systemic medical conditions such as diabetes (that is lead to acute decompensation of medical conditions such as diabetes)
Everyone, please stay safe and strong at this difficult time.