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Patient Treatment During Corona

July 6, 2020

“Thanks to the pandemic, my dentist won’t do extractions.  I understand why, but is it feasible to take antibiotics and pain pills till this is over?”  The question came in over Facebook, a last ditch effort from a prospective patient in pain from a possibly infected wisdom tooth.  The answer came back quickly- please call the School of Dentistry, we are still seeing patients for emergencies. 

“It is our responsibility as dentists to prevent basic dental emergencies ending up in our emergency rooms. Our medical colleagues are swamped and this is the best way we can serve during this crisis.” Romesh Nalliah, Associate Dean for Patient Services says. 

School of Dentistry Infection Prevention and Control protocol has been updated to include guidelines from the CDC, OSHA and the ADA, among others. Aerosol-free dentistry is being practiced  as much as possible.  If at all possible, minimally invasive restorative techniques with hand tools are used. Disposable gowns, N95 masks, safety glasses and face shields are required while in the patient treatment cubicle. Nalliah explains,“We all can make a difference in keeping each other and our building safe for patients and each other.” 

Now more than ever there is a need to follow Infection prevention and control standards to keep yourself and our patients safe and healthy. 

Brandonn Perry, Infection Prevention and Compliance officer

Patients line up, six feet apart, waiting to be screened at the single patient entrance leading into the School of Dentistry.  They will be assisted by gloved and masked Patient Services staff and directed to the appropriate open clinic.  

“To get into the U of M school of dentistry:

Doors have to be opened for you.

They take your temperature at the entrance.

Everyone is required to wear a mask.

You get a marked sticker for the day of the week you’re visiting.

Times be weird. Stay home if you can.” 

Tricia J, emergency patient.

Behind closed doors, Patient Services staff screen calls and Dentists provide Telemedicine care to panicked patients.  Patients sit alone, as visitors are restricted, waiting to be taken to a treatment room.

Waiting rooms @UMichDentistry before and after #Covid_19

HR Director Natalie Brown says, “We appreciate all the work that has been done by Faculty and Staff to keep the School of Dentistry operations running, allowing us to care for our community’s most critical dental patients. We thank you all for your ongoing flexibility and support of one another.”  Staff and students work and learn remotely, missing the patients and the camaraderie, but knowing staying home keeps everyone safe.  Administration works vigilantly, making sure that the school is set up for success as soon as clinics are allowed to reopen.  And the patients reaching out frantically on Facebook? “Thank you, I was actually on hold with your offices when I made this post. Thanks to a wonderful dentist I’ve got a better understanding and clear instructions on how to relieve the pain. He also asked questions and determined that there’s no infection, only a very loose and nervy tooth!”

For more information:

Patient Safety at the School of Dentistry

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