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You Can No Longer Go To The Dentist Except In An Emergency

The Federal government has ordered all dentists to adhere to strict guidelines, which includes turning away more patients and only treating cases that meet "emergency" criteria.

Dentists had already been taking precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but these were ramped up on Friday.

Level 3 restrictions mean dentists can no longer treat patients for things like broken or chipped teeth, bleeding or sore gums, denture concerns, crown and bridge issues, or jaws that click and grate. It also rules out the routine scale and clean.

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Treatments that are allowed to continue must not generate aerosols unless for patients with acute pain, or the management of significantly damaged front teeth.

Dentists also can continue to manage medically compromised patients and those who are deemed at higher risk of rapid progression of dental disease

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) told 10 daily they are pleased their recommendations have been adopted by the Federal government.

"There may rarely be a situation in which a patient with confirmed or possible COVID-19 infection has a significant dental emergency which requires treatment and cannot be delayed until they are out of quarantine or isolation," the health department said. 

The ADA also pointed out many dentists around the country had already elected to proactively scale down their treatments. 

In an emotional video posted to social media on Thursday, general and cosmetic dentist Dr Fadi Yasmin announced his clinic's changes.

"We've switched over to emergency dental treatment only, there are significant changes in our current protocols we've adapted to keep everyone safe," he said.

For general dentistry, the changes will be significant, given a scale and clean is usually a gateway treatment.

"The decision of whether to treat a patient at risk of COVID-19 should be made by the dental practitioner after taking into consideration the safety of the dental team and other patients," the ADA said on its website.

The ADA is also running webinars for its members and providing support and information about these changes as well as mental health support as practices overhaul how they operate.

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Contact the author alattouf@networkten.com.au