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Emergency treatment to continue

By: Gurbir Singh

All non-essential and elective dental services have been suspended in New Zealand immediately to reduce risk of community spread.

In a notification to all practitioners late yesterday, the Dental Council and the Ministry of Health together “strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services, particularly those generating aerosol, should be suspended immediately to reduce the risk of community spread, including to yourself, your staff and your patients.”

Emergency treatment and relief of pain, however, should continue with appropriate precautions taken, says the Council.

This action comes after the doctors around the country were told yesterday to shift to video consultations, by phone and emails as possible to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

In the communication, the Dental Council “recognises the difficult time for all practitioners and at this time it remains the decision of individual practitioners, whilst abiding to mandatory practice standards.

“However, in the national interest the Dental Council and the Ministry of Health together strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services…”

“All emergency treatment and relief of pain should continue…(and) this includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by medications.”

Dental practitioners have generally welcomed this “national interest’ move.

One local dentist to whom NewsViews spoke this morning, however, wanted this suspension to go one step further.

“All dental services need to be shut down, and emergency treatment could be restricted to, say one or two specialised practices available in the city. This would stop the community spread that has been confirmed today,” the practitioner commented (name withheld on request).

“There is always the fear that one infected patient- with no visible symptoms, may walk in, resulting in a serious risk to all, including infecting the clinic itself.

“But, it’s possible this may be done by the Health Minstry if the alert level is raised this week,” he added.

NewsViews has approached the Dental Council for their comments that are still awaited.

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