The COVID-19 pandemic is having wide-ranging impacts on our everyday lives, including scheduled dental and other appointments. We all need to work together to prevent the spread of the virus.

Will the COVID-19 outbreak impact my dental appointment?

In a statement issued March 16, the American Dental Association (ADA) called on dentists nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures for three weeks in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Concentrating on emergency and urgent dental care only during this three week period will allow dentists and their teams to care for emergency patients and reduce the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.

How do I know what is considered a dental emergency?

Here’s a guide to what you can reschedule for a time when your dentist has resumed normal operations, and what you should consider an emergency. You can also download this guide. If you’re not sure whether your dental care need counts as an emergency, call your dentist’s office. They can help decide if you need to be seen immediately.

  1. Dental care you can reschedule for another time:

    • Regular visits for exams, cleanings and x-rays
    • Regular visits for braces
    • Removal of teeth that are aren’t painful
    • Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
    • Tooth whitening
  2. Dental care that you should have taken care of by a dentist at this time:

    • Bleeding that doesn’t stop
    • Painful swelling in or around your mouth
    • Pain in a tooth, teeth or jaw bone
    • Gum infection with pain or swelling
    • After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
    • Broken or knocked out tooth
    • Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
    • Snipping or adjusting wire of braces that hurts your cheek or gums
    • Biopsy of abnormal tissue

Even during this outbreak, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene habits. Learn how to take care of your mouth when you’re sick.

What is a Dental Mid-level Provider?

In some areas of our country, individuals with a lot less education and training are allowed to provide dental treatment to individuals that need oral health care. The Mississippi Dental Association opposes dental mid-level providers and the idea that an individual with less training providing dental care is an optimal solution for our patients who have difficulty obtaining dental care.

The reality is that our government programs that assist with oral health care provision need to be better funded. Also, more programs need to cover adult dental care. Those are two areas that the MDA works to improve to insure that all Mississippians have access to quality oral health care.

The key to a healthy mouth starts at birth. Regular visits to a dentist help you take good care of your teeth and can prevent expensive treatment due to dental disease. A dentist is trained to provide you the best care and to help you have a healthy mouth throughout your lifetime.