MN dentists take coronavirus recommendations seriously, respond to emergencies only

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A sign on a door of a clinic reads "Stop!"
A sign posted to the entrance of the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic in downtown Minneapolis asks patients who may have COVID-19 to return to their car or home and call the clinic.
Courtesy of Jon Hallberg file

Following the advice of the Minnesota Dental Association and the American Dental Association, dentists around the state are temporarily limiting practices as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase.

The recommendation urged dentists voluntarily stop providing routine care, but “it is expected that dentists will continue to be available as needed for emergency care and services,” according to a memo the chapter sent to its membership.

Shortly after, the American Dental Association sent out a similar recommendation that offices reduce services for three weeks and allow for emergency care when needed.

“Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments,” the ADA’s recommendation said.

Carmelo Cinqueonce, the executive director of the Minnesota Dental Association, said that he’s seen dental offices across the state already following the recommendation.

“Anecdotally, we're seeing that many, many practices are posting either on social media or elsewhere that they have in fact taken heed of the recommendation,” he said.

He said the closures are about the health and safety of those working in these offices as well as patients.

“I think we all have this corresponding responsibility to flatten that curve,” Cinqueonce said.

In some states, like Louisiana, the Health Department has ordered the closure of dental offices, with exceptions for emergencies, for the next 30 days.

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