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02 April 2020

American Dental Association (ADA) recommendations on the treatment of urgency and emergency cases in dental practices

Simona Chirico


On March 31, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) published guidelines for dental practices on its website (https://www.ada.org/en). Dentists, in fact, must keep their offices closed to routine activities and guarantee their performance only in case of urgency and emergency identified.

Here are the urgency and emergency treatments identified by ADA.

DENTAL EMERGENCIES

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromise the patient’s airway
  • Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway


DENTAL URGENCIES

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Pericoronitis or third-molar pain
  • Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes
  • Abscess, or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation 
  • Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures 
  • Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation
  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue


NON-URGENT DENTAL TREATMENTS THAT CAN BE POSTPONED:

  • Initial or periodic oral examinations and recall visits, including routine radiographs
  • Routine dental cleaning and preventive therapies
  • Orthodontic procedures other than those to address acute issues (e.g. pain, infection, trauma) or other issues critically necessary to prevent harm to the patient
  • Extraction of asymptomatic teeth
  • Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions
  • Aesthetic dental procedure


For additional information and to stay up to date, visit the American Dental Association websites
https://www.ada.org/en
https://www.ada.org/virus


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