Managing the COVID-19 Patient

How should emergency cases be managed if patient is suspected of having or has tested positive for COVID-19?

During the pandemic crisis, only emergency cases should be treated in office, regardless of whether a patient has acute respiratory symptoms. In the context of limited chair time and thus exposure time, please consider using pharmacotherapy to manage infection/pain until it is safer for patients to be seen in the dental office. Whenever possible, emergency cases should be managed via telephone by taking a verbal history of the patient’s condition and providing appropriate advice, consultation and pharmacotherapy if indicated.

In dentistry, a “true emergency situation” includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications.

In those few cases where telephone management is insufficient, clinical assessment may be necessary provided that the dental practice takes appropriate safety precautions, follows all IPAC best practices for pandemic situations, and utilizes “enhanced PPE”.

Whenever an aerosol procedure is provided, dental care must be provided using enhanced precautions (i.e. N95 mask – or NIOSH approved respirator (fitted), gloves, eye protection, face shield and protective gown). This is especially relevant when a patient has or is at risk of having COVID-19.

In all cases, dental professionals must adhere to the standards of care and “strong recommendations” of provincial regulatory authorities. In as much as those rules allow dental clinics to treat COVID19 patients, the following checklist will ensure that the care is provided as safely as possible for the clinicians, supporting personnel and patients.

Access the checklist and additional helpful resources at