The Ministry of Public Health decided to limit routine dental care in establishments of the National Health System while the state of emergency and sanitary emergency lasts. Only emergencies and urgencies will be treated, says the protocol published three months ago.

A dental emergency, MSP describes, is life-threatening and is treated exclusively in hospital settings: uncontrollable bleeding, hemorrhage, cellulite, or diffuse soft tissue infections that compromise the airways, severe craniofacial trauma involving bones of the face and airways, and dislocation of the temporomandibular joint.

Meanwhile, emergencies are those treatments that require immediate attention to relieve pain or risk of infection. They can be treated in a first-level center: pulpitis, pulp necrosis, pericoronaritis, alveolitis, periapical abscesses, periodontal abscesses and painful dental fractures.

A dental emergency is life threatening and is treated exclusively in hospital settings.

The document also recommends that the patient attend the emergency and urgent consultation alone, unless he is a minor or a person with a disability. In this case you can go with a companion, who must stay in the waiting room.

"In dental consultation, all patients are considered high risk," says the dentist Katherine Peñafiel TerrerosThat is why it is necessary that you prioritize and know that you will only be treated if there are pain or risks to your health. Call first, as the center will most likely ask you to schedule your appointment before visiting the facility.

Dentist, one of the professions most at risk in times of coronavirus

In the meantime, if you go to a private center, you will be given a short COVID-19 symptom ruling out questionnaire, either by call, text message or social networks. You must answer all questions clearly and honestly in order to separate an appointment. In the event of presenting symptoms, Dr. Peñafiel indicates that a rapid test should be performed to rule out the probability of contagion.

If so, you can go, unaccompanied (except for children, older adults or people with disabilities) and with a mask.

In the dental consultation, all patients are considered high risk.

Katherine Peñafiel Terreros

In addition to the disinfection measures at the entrance, temperature taking, hand washing and biosafety implements, you must adhere to the care protocol.

"It is about using the waiting room as little as possible," emphasizes Peñafiel. The dentist will wear personal protective equipment that will disinfect after caring for each patient, and will provide a 0.12% chlorhexidine-based mouthwash to clean the oral cavity before care.

After care, the entire dental unit will be disinfected with alcohol, fifth-generation quaternary ammonium, or sodium hypochlorite, and after a 20-minute wait for aeration, it will be ready for a new patient. (I)

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