The coronavirus pandemic led to a widespread lockdown in Australia, which has since been eased off a little, but the rules around what you can and can’t do are a little confusing. Therefore, if you have a dental emergency, you may be wondering whether you should just try self-care at home, or whether you should see a dentist. Here’s a guide on what to do during the pandemic if you need to see a dentist.
Non-essential dentistry is cancelled
As it stands, any dentistry that isn’t classed as ‘urgent’ is seen as any other non-essential service, so it can be delayed until after the pandemic. Because certain dental procedures use aerosols, which risk spreading any coronavirus bacteria on nearby surfaces, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee have recommended that dentists avoid certain treatments at this time.
Some treatments you won’t be able to access during the pandemic include:
- Teeth whitening
- Scale and polish
- Routine check ups
- Non-emergency tooth extractions
- New crowns and bridges
- Fillings – if it’s not causing pain or issues
If you have a regular appointment scheduled, or you have one coming up that you booked before the lockdown, you should expect it to be cancelled.
Some treatments are still available
While cosmetic and non-essential dentistry is unavailable, the good news is, any emergency work can still be done. If you have a dental emergency, once you’ve given first aid, you should immediately call your dentist to find out whether your issue falls under this category. Dentists will still be dealing with:
- Serious damage to teeth
- Emergency referrals from doctors
- Management of conditions that would otherwise worsen health
- Carrying out procedures like root canals or extractions that are causing too much pain for treatment to be postponed
Not all dentists are open
Because dentists are unable to do certain procedures, the demand for dentistry is much lower, so not all dentist surgeries are open at this time. Therefore, you may need to look for an emergency dentist Gold Coast clinic to get the work done. You should call in advance and find out what the procedure for getting an appointment is at the dentist. Most places are doing a telephone triage first, and have measures in place such as only having one patient in the surgery at a time, for social distancing reasons.
If you’re in pain, don’t put it off
While people are having routine and non-essential work cancelled, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the dentist if you’re in pain. Some dental procedures simply can’t wait, and if your dentist says you need to have an appointment, you should go in. Dentists, like all medical professionals, will have PPE and be taking all precautions, so the risk to you is still low.
Many dentists are still working during the coronavirus pandemic, but not all procedures and treatments will still be available. If you’re unsure whether you need an appointment, or whether your issue is deemed essential, it’s best to simply pick up the phone and speak to your dentist’s office staff, and they’ll tell you whether they can help with your specific needs.