23 March 2020

Important update: ADA recommends dentists minimise provision of routine dental treatment

In light of recent measures announced yesterday by the Andrews Government in Victoria, the ADAVB is now recommending that dentists take steps to minimise the provision of aerosol generating routine dental treatment until otherwise advised.

Urgent and emergency dental treatment should still be provided where clinically indicated. ADAVB will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide regular updates and advice about whether normal treatment can resume, or further restrictions might apply. Dentists should prepare for the government mandating more stringent restrictions in the near future.

Maintaining the provision of emergency and urgent dental care will allow dentists to continue to provide high quality care for their patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments. This should include management of conditions that are likely to require emergency care if left untreated. The key focus is on reducing aerosol-generating procedures, which may play a role in the spread of the virus. Reducing patient treatment also acts as a social distancing measure to further minimise the spread of COVID-19.

There is also an important requirement to manage supplies of PPE in an environment in which these supplies are scarce, and where they will be required in hospitals and other healthcare facilities to manage COVID-19 patients.

As health care professionals, ultimately it is up to you to make decisions about your patients and your practice. We have developed a guidance document and resources to assist with your decision available here. The current recommendation is that dentists should now operate at Level 2 restrictions, but you may decide to implement higher restrictions in your practice depending on your own circumstances, including access to PPE.

It is also important that you screen all of your patients for possible COVID-19 symptoms prior to commencing dental treatment. If you have not already done so, I urge you to review the COVID-19 practice resources on the ADA’s website.

We recognise that implementing these changes will have a significant impact on your practice, and we know that many practices have already voluntarily reduced their services or even closed temporarily. We continue to work closely with the federal ADA to provide resources and support to members.

Further information

Department of Health and Human Services website: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

ADA's COVID-19 practice resources: www.ada.org.au/covid19