Dentists Counting on CARE Act Loans After Elective Procedures Prohibited

April 9, 2020 - 6:00pm

A statewide directed health measure prohibits elective surgeries, including by dentists, in order to preserve personal protective equipment for the fight against COVID-19.

Dentists are still allowed to perform emergency or urgent procedures, including for a broken tooth or oral infection. If treatment is ongoing for a dental problem and must continue for health reasons, that can also be considered urgent.

David O’Doherty is executive director of the Nebraska Dental Association. He said it’s hard to define what would be urgent or not.

“It’s between the patient and the doctor, and the dentist to decide can it wait or not,” O’Doherty said. “So it’s hard to make it a hard and fast list, but there are guidelines we provide that dentists can kind of walk through and see if it can wait or not. And if it can wait, then they put it off.”

O’Doherty said if you have a dental problem, you should call your dentist to help determine if it qualifies as urgent or not. All standard dental check-ups are postponed.

These changes have had a significant financial affect on dental offices. O’Doherty said the federal CARES Act will provide loans to dentists and other small businesses to help them keep employees on pay roll even if they are not working. Many dental offices have had to lay off employees, but could potentially bring them back under a CARE Act loan.



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