Emergency dental treatment only

As per the MoH & DCNZ Joint Guidelines and NZDA Safety Standards at Alert Level 4 non-emergency and elective dental procedures for all patients must cease and only emergency and relief of pain treatments be provided.

Dental Council has stated 'dental emergencies' include: 

  • trauma-including facial/oral laceration and/or dentoalveolar injuries, such as avulsion of a permanent tooth 
  • oro-facial swelling that is serious and worsening 
  • post-extraction bleeding that the patient is not able to control with local measures 
  • dental conditions that have resulted in acute systemic illness or raised temperature as a result of dental infection 
  • severe trismus 
  • acute infections that are likely to exacerbate systemic medical conditions such as diabetes.

Patients with planned or requested care (non-emergency) must be postponed until after the conclusion of the Level 4 lockdown period (currently 4-weeks). 

Patients requesting emergency dental care must first undergo a telephone assessment by the oral health practitioner to determine the need for a ‘face-to-face’ appointment. Whenever possible the dental problem should be managed conservatively with telephone advice and as necessary medications. (Medical management of acute pain) 

The key thing is that dentists may ‘think’ because they have some kind of PPE they are protected and they can continue to work. However, this should not be the focus, this encourages people to come out and neglects the wider focus of what is going on. The public should be staying at home to break the chain of transmission.

While we do appreciate dentists have businesses and a client base to maintain, they are to follow the pre-screening by phone of patients and provide care strictly as outlined in the Guidelines. For most patients, dentists can use phone, video or other digital platforms, such as GP’s are doing to impart the information patients require.


Automated appointment reminders

Dentists with an ability to schedule automated appointment reminders should consider sending the following (or similar) to your patients. Template COVID-19 patient advice notice

Phone appointment responses

Dentists who remind patients of upcoming appointments by phone, should consider what advice is being given to patients and may wish to provide similar information as that written in the above template. 

Notice in practices  

Some DHBs have sent patient warning notices to GP practices, consider adding a similar notice to your practice front door. Example notice

Face masks and PPE continuity

at 1 April 2020
A number of PPE providers have approached the Association. We make no representations as to the value or quality of product, but feel it is helpful for a list of PPE providers’ contact details to be supplied to members who are urgently seeking PPE during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 Lockdown. Members are responsible for ensuring PPE complies with Dental Council and Ministry of Health Guidelines for oral health services at COVID-19 Alert Level 4

Organisation Name Email Phone
Amtech Lauren Reid

[email protected]
[email protected]

0800 268 324 

DRC NZ Adrienne Renton [email protected]

0800 372972 or

021 414 104
Multi-Pack Ltd (New Zealand PPE) Oliver MacIntyre
Jack Silvester
[email protected] 027 829 0580
027 360 6349
PGL Limited Mansung Kim [email protected]

027 343 9493

Qualimax Limited (trading as Crazy Sales) Daniel Yuen [email protected] 021 0817 1299 

Whanganui PPE distributor Amtech has chartered three Dreamliner flights bringing additional PPE direct from China.

27 March 2020
NZDA is currently working on sourcing and/or having made available the necessary PPE for dentists to be able to provide emergency treatment to patients. To date, we have referred a number of opportunities to the Dental Industry as they have the skills to assess the validity and compliance of product. 

Be careful of scammers and fake product that are emerging. 

The bottomline is you need to be certain the safety gear you are using is not fake and that it meets the required standard.

16 March 2020
Dental Council has advised their position is that oral health practitioners must adhere to the minimum standards for IPC when treating a patient. Dental Council COVID-19 guidance to oral health practitioners. NZDA continues to seek additional security and/or alternative supply. 

12 March 2020
Following confirmation by Dental Council that they will not be amending the Practice Standard regarding the wearing of face masks, NZDA has written to Minister of Health, Hon David Clark. Read NZDA's letter to the Minister of Health

For clarity, and convenience, the DCNZ requirements regarding wearing of face masks are located on page 14 of the Dental Council Infection Prevention and Control Practice Standard

10 March 2020
NZDA sought guidance from Dental Council regarding face masks and what if any amendment can be made to requirements regarding the wearing of face masks. We hoped the reply would also outlines continuity plans from Dental Council and Ministry of Health to ensure patient care, in the event of dental practices needing to temporarily close.

Government and industry response
The Australian Government announced securing an additional 54 million face masks for the National Medical Stockpile.  We are awaiting a response from Ministry of Health regarding access for dentists to the New Zealand stockpile. 

Depending on the nature of the responses from Dental Council and the Ministry of Health we will then assess contacting the Minister of Health regarding this issue, directly.

The Dental Industry Group is providing regular updates and working with NZDA on these matters. 

Ministry of Health

As we have previously advised and continue to advise, members should regularly review Ministry of Health advice which is constantly being updated here. There is useful information here for health professionals.