COVID-19 and Dental Care - Minnesota Department of Health

COVID-19 and Dental Care

On this page:
Information for the public
Information for dental professionals and dental clinics

Information about seeing a dentist

When can I see a dentist?

Seeing the dentist for emergency dental care is allowed during the stay at home order.

If you have a dental emergency, call your dentist. Your dentist will discuss your situation and inform you what to do next. Dentists are authorized to treat emergency dental cases during the stay at home order.  Emergency departments at hospitals are not set up to treat dental problems, like tooth pain. Reducing visits to the emergency room ensures staff are available for life-threatening emergencies and can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Preventive care, like routine cleanings and check-ups, may be postponed. This helps save personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and gowns for frontline health workers and first responders, and supports social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

What counts as a dental emergency?

If you are in pain that would normally lead you to call the dentist, call your dentist. A dental emergency may include swelling, pain, infection, a crown that has fallen off, or an injury to the mouth, like a broken tooth. Your dentist will help you make care decisions, which may mean coming into the dental office for an emergency procedure, self-care strategies at home, or a referral to another dentist.

If you have trauma to the face, like a broken jaw or gunshot wound, please call 911 or go the emergency room.

Elective procedures and surgeries

Starting May 10 at 11:59 p.m., clinics and hospitals may choose to resume elective surgeries and procedures. Your dentist will decide whether to do a procedure. See more: Surgeries and procedures during COVID-19 - Frequently asked questions for patients (PDF)

Good oral health habits

Continue practicing good oral hygiene while staying at home.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Drink water from the faucet (tap water). Tap water is safe to drink and has fluoride in it, which helps protect teeth from cavities.
  • Avoid sugary beverages and foods, which can cause cavities.
  • Floss daily.
  • Avoid tobacco. If you currently smoke, vape or chew, find free phone-based or online coaching resources to help you quit: QuitPartnerMN

Find more information about COVID-19.

Information for dental professionals and dental clinics

Resuming elective care

All dental clinics must follow Minnesota Department of Health and Board of Dentistry guidelines in order to resume elective care, surgeries or procedures. This includes completing an implementation plan for your clinic and following personal protective equipment protocols.

Please note: Prioritization of care is still required and based on the needs in certain clinical situations. Read more from the Board of Dentistry.

See more: Surgeries and procedures during COVID-19

Treating emergency patients

Dental professionals are authorized to see and treat emergency cases during the stay at home order. Follow guidelines from the Board of Dentistry on emergency and nonemergency procedures.

Dentists are a key part of the health care team and can help slow the spread of COVID-19. Continuing to see dental emergency patients in the dental office helps reduce the burden on the greater health care system. It is important to preserve personal protective equipment, hospital beds, and staff capacity for caring for COVID-19 patients and other medical emergencies.

Please view guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for infection control when treating emergencies: CDC COVID-19 guidance for dental settings.

Ensure social distancing within the clinic setting between staff and other patients.

Dental licensing

The Board of Dentistry has taken several steps to support dental professionals during the pandemic. Steps include:

  • Postponing continuing education auditing until the next cycle.
  • Postponing terminations for individuals who report a financial hardship and cannot renew their license.
  • Waiving late fees for license renewal.

Other resources

Resources for dentists – Minnesota Dental Association
COVID-19 Practice Resources – American Dental Association
Guide for small businesses that need help – Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits – Minnesota Unemployment Insurance
COVID-19 Updates for Dental Hygienists – American Dental Hygiene Association
Donating unused personal protective equipment

Updated Monday, 11-May-2020 14:27:11 CDT