FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – WEST ALLIS, WIS., March 20, 2020 – As most Wisconsin dentists follow recommendations by the American Dental Association, the Wisconsin Dental Association, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and numerous other health agencies to temporarily suspend elective procedures to lessen transmission of COVID-19, they remain available to provide emergency care – and they urge people to seek that care if they need it.
“Oral health is an integral part of overall health,” said WDA President Dr. Thomas Raimann of Milwaukee. “Severe pain, bleeding or swelling should be taken seriously at all times, even now when most dental offices are closed for routine care. Wisconsin’s dentists remain available for patients during this public health crisis and have instituted additional measures and protocols to provide emergency care in a clean, safe and healthy environment.”
“We cannot stress this enough,” Dr. Raimann added. “Patients needing urgent care should not delay treatment, nor should they go to hospital emergency rooms already stretched thin by this crisis. If you need dental treatment, contact a dental office first – they stand ready to help.”
The WDA recommends emergency treatment if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Severe, persistent toothache. If you feel a toothache has become overwhelming and in need of immediate relief, you should seek care from a dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise, symptoms could worsen and other complications could arise.
- Tooth knocked out or loose. Timing is essential when a tooth has been knocked out. The faster you are able to see a dentist, the more likely they will be able to save your natural tooth. A tooth that has become suddenly loose is typical for children, but can be a major problem for adults as it could indicate an underlying disease.
- Broken tooth. A broken tooth accompanied by significant pain requires emergency attention. This not only causes tooth pain and facial swelling, it can also leave you more vulnerable to bacteria and infection that can threaten overall health. If a tooth is slightly chipped or broken and presents no significant pain, treatment can be postponed until regular care can be administered.
- Dental abscess (tooth infection). If you suspect a dental abscess, seek immediate treatment. Infections
could become life-threatening when they spread throughout the body or close your airway. This type of infection can cause major mouth pain that could extend to your jaw, neck and other areas of your body. Common symptoms include swelling of your mouth or face, fever, a buildup of pus, a foul taste in your mouth and swollen glands.
If you are unsure if your symptoms require immediate attention, the WDA recommends seeking counsel from your dental office. They’ll ask questions to help decide whether a condition constitutes a dental emergency. True medical emergencies – such as an inability to breathe or a rapid deterioration of your overall health – still warrant calling 911.
For more information about your oral health during the coronavirus pandemic, visit the American Dental Association’s public awareness website at www.MouthHealthy.org.
On Tuesday, March 16, the American Dental Association recommended that members postpone elective dental procedures for at least three weeks in an effort to lessen transmission of COVID-19, or coronavirus. The Wisconsin Dental Association strongly urges its members to follow the ADA recommendation. This morning, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued guidance recommending Wisconsin dental offices suspend elective procedures until the public health crisis has passed.