Dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic
Victorian dentists are permitted to provide dental care to patients with certain restrictions applying in various parts of Victoria.
Last updated 18 January 2022.
COVIDSafe dental care
It is safe to attend dental appointments (in accordance with current government restrictions), as dental practices have strict infection control procedures in place, and other measures to protect patients and staff, including COVIDSafe Plans. It is important to maintain your oral health during the pandemic by continuing to have dental check-ups every six to 12 months and having any problems looked at.
Dental practices will ask patients if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19 before dental appointments. It is important that you inform your dentist if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 before attending the dentist. Your dentist may delay some non-urgent dental care depending on the situation. If you have a dental emergency, call your dentist for advice or contact the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne.
If you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and are required to quarantine, or you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms, please delay your dental appointment and get tested for COVID-19. You must stay at home and isolate until you receive your test result. For further information, visit the Victorian Department of Health website or call the Victorian coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
Do I need to tell my dentist my vaccination status?
Your dentist might ask you your vaccination status as part of their screening process. They will do this to help understand the risk for you and other patients in the clinic. You do not have to provide this information, but it would be useful to do so.
Can a dentist refuse to treat me if I am not vaccinated?
Yes, as long as the refusal is not based on any ground of discrimination (i.e. age, gender, race, religion, disability, sexual preference, physical appearance, etc). However the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and National Boards expect all health practitioners to support access to care regardless of someone's vaccination status where steps can be taken to keep everyone safe.
There are no public health directions from the Victorian Government that require dental patients to be fully vaccinated in order to receive care. However, a dental practice may have a policy to only treat vaccinated patients or treat unvaccinated patients on specific days or times. This might be to protect vulnerable staff or family members. The ADAVB supports the evidence that vaccination for COVID-19 is effective in protecting dental staff and patients. If you are not currently vaccinated, discuss this with your dental practice before attending your appointment. If you have a medical exemption from vaccination, then you can discuss this with your dentist.
My dentist wants me to have a COVID-19 test prior to treatment.
Some dental practices may have a policy to require a COVID-19 test prior to treatment, including the use of rapid antigen tests. There are no public health directions from the Victorian Government that require dental patients to show proof of a recent COVID-19 negative test result to receive dental care. However, a dental practice may have a policy that requires evidence of a COVID-19 test prior to treatment.
Caring for your teeth
For tips and advice about taking care of your oral health, view our fact sheets. We have a range of fact sheets freely available to download with vital information about caring for your teeth, including two 'COVID-19 pandemic: Getting your dental health back on track' fact sheets.