Emergency vs Non Emergency Dental Procedures as Defined by the ADA
COVID-19 Resources for Dentists

COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

Phase 1A, Tier 2 of Washington state's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance allows for the vaccination of all workers in health care settings. All dental office employees are included in Phase 1A, Tier 2.

Dentists and all dental team members can visit wsda.org/vaccine for more information about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in their area.

wsda.org/vaccine


Proclamation 20-24.2

On Nov. 25, 2020, Governor Inslee released updates to Proclamation 20-24.2 “Reducing Restrictions on, and Safe Expansion of, Non-Urgent Medical and Dental Procedures.” This revised Proclamation, which has not been revised since May, includes references to updated guidelines and resources that have changed over the last several months.

Proclamation 20-24.2 does not enact any additional restriction or limitation on the delivery of dental care or health care more broadly. Instead, the revised Proclamation updates the requirements health care providers must follow to provide ongoing care based upon new data and resources. In addition, the Governor’s Office is empowering health care providers to self-regulate capacity for care based upon parameters outlined in the proclamation.

A detailed summary of Proclamation 20-24.2 is available for all WSDA members hereWashington Dentists: Not a member? Join WSDA today.

Proclamation Summary & Resources



​Recent COVID-19 Communications from WSDA

Please Note: As this is a rapidly evolving situation, information/links in these posts may become out of date. Please ​reference our business impacts and clinical guidance pages, and check your email frequently for the most current information.

Emergency vs Non Emergency Dental Procedures as Defined by the ADA

This list from the ADA should be helpful in determining what is considered “emergency” versus “non emergency."
The following should be helpful in determining what is considered “emergency” versus “non emergency.” This guidance may change as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, and dentists should use their professional judgment in determining a patient’s need for urgent or emergency care.

1. Dental emergency

Dental emergencies are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection, and include: 
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromise the patient’s airway
  • Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway

Urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible. 

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Pericoronitis or third-molar pain
  • Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes
  • Abscess, or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling.
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation
  • Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures
  • Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation 

Other urgent dental care: 

  • Extensive dental caries or defective restorations causing pain
    • Manage with interim restorative techniques when possible (silver diamine fluoride, glass ionomers)
  • Suture removal
  • Denture adjustment on radiation/oncology patients
  • Denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded
  • Replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain
  • Snipping or adjustment of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa


2. Dental non emergency procedures

Routine or non-urgent dental procedures include but are not limited to: 
  • Initial or periodic oral examinations and recall visits, including routine radiographs
  • Routine dental cleaning and preventive therapies
  • Orthodontic procedures other than those to address acute issues (e.g. pain, infection, trauma)
  • Extraction of asymptomatic teeth
  • Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions
  • Aesthetic dental procedures

​View COVID-19 information and updates at wsda.org/covid-19.
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