Emergency dental treatment continues to be available

In this emergency situation and in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, the Health Board decided to suspend all scheduled dental treatment. In the case of an acute dental emergency, however, emergency dental treatment continues to be available.

‘If a dental clinic is capable of providing first aid, they are allowed to treat emergency cases. It is not required to have a valid contract with the Health Insurance Fund. The clinic must use protective equipment, as required, and strictly follow the safety instructions in force. However, the first step for everyone is to consult their dentist to determine whether or not they provide emergency treatment and if they have a valid contract with the Health Insurance Fund. If not, a person should turn to the nearest on-call clinic listed on the web site of the Health Insurance Fund,’ explained Külli Friedemann, Head of the Primary Healthcare Department of the Health Insurance Fund.

In order to ensure that emergency treatment is available in every Estonian county, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the Estonian Dental Association have listed specific on-call dental clinics that must provide daily emergency treatment for free. ‘These are contractual partners of the Health Insurance Fund who must ensure that emergency treatment is available for everyone; they are paid accordingly for preparedness. The Health Insurance Fund covers the costs of emergency dental care provided by contractual partners. The service provider may ask a patient to cover only their visit fee of five euros,’ Friedemann assured.

Everyone has a right for emergency dental care, regardless of whether they have health insurance or not. ‘Emergency dental care is provided when postponing treatment or not treating the patient may cause death or a permanent health damage. Whether or not a condition requires emergency treatment is decided by a dentist,’ Friedemann explained.

Emergency dental treatment is provided for the following conditions during the emergency situation:

  • First aid for the oral health of children
  • Dental traumas
  • Visible swelling and severe pain around the jaw area
  • Severe pain in the temporomandibular joint area, trismus
  • Severe toothache that does not respond to medication
  • Acute infection caused by the eruption of wisdom teeth
  • Bleeding from a mouth wound
  • Acute salivary gland diseases
  • Acute gum diseases
  • Infection following the removal of a tooth
  • Unfinished dental extractions that require immediate intervention

Emergency dental care is provided in treatment facilities in accordance with the strict protective measures established by the Health Board. In order to determine the severity of the patient’s condition, they are triaged, meaning determining the priority of a patients’ treatment. Treatment is provided by doctors wearing protective gear, who use FFP2 or FFP3 respirators, protective goggles, and a visor as personal protective equipment. The room is disinfected for 20 minutes after each patient.