Using Telemedicine to Determine Non-Essential vs. Essential Care

A patient talking to the doctor on an Ipad

The current COVID-19 crisis is affecting businesses of all sizes and people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, the dental industry is no exception. The American Dental Association has put forth recommendations that dentists should postpone all elective procedures for the next few weeks.

Here at CTC Associates, we know that this is a stressful and uncertain time. Luckily there are ways to make this new process a little easier. Below are some guidelines on how to differentiate emergency procedures from non-essential ones:

Emergency Care Situations

Dental emergencies refer to any situation in which a patient needs care in order to save a tooth, stop bleeding, or relieve severe pain. The possibility of an infected tooth is also considered an emergency, as it could quickly become a life-threatening situation.

The American Dental Association released a guide on essential vs. non-essential procedures during this time of uncertainty. The following situations qualify as essential:

  • Moderate or severe levels of tooth decay
  • A fractured tooth, if it is causing pain
  • Crowns, if needed to repair areas of substantial decay or complete a root canal
  • An actively infected tooth
  • Any dental situation that is causing significant pain
  • Swelling or cellulitis, which can be a warning sign of an infection at the tip of a tooth root
  • Facial swelling caused by a toothache or infected tooth
  • Broken wires or brackets, for patients with braces
  • Broken dentures or other removable tooth replacements

Now is the time to consider expanding your accessibility to provide a diagnosis remotely through teledentistry. Telehealth, through HIPPA-approved apps such as FaceTime or Facebook Messenger, can be very valuable tools.

We know that things feel uncertain and stressful, but CTC Associates is here to help you navigate this unprecedented situation for your patients, your practice, and your staff. Please contact CTC Associates for more information.

Posted on May 11, 2020

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