Coronavirus Updates & Hospital Visitor Policy

Important Notice to Dental Patients Regarding COVID-19

The James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine and Medical University of South Carolina leaders are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Currently, College of Dental Medicine (CDM) clinics are open only for urgent care.

If you have an appointment at the CDM for routine pediatric or adult care (such as a checkup, cleaning or a filling) this appointment is canceled and we will work with you to reschedule it. This includes appointments at all student/residency/specialty clinics and the Dental Faculty Practice. If you have an urgent dental need, please call our contact center at 843-876-7645.

Urgent care means

  • Severe toothache
  • Swelling of gums, face or neck
  • Bleeding in your mouth that does not stop
  • Trauma

Please do not come in to the clinic without first calling our contact center at 843-876-7645

All patients will be asked the following screening questions:

  • Have you traveled outside the United States to any of the Geographic Areas (countries) with Sustained Transmission within last 21 days? Here is the link to the Center for Disease Control's information on restricted travel. (constantly updated)

  • Have you had close contact with a person with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection (Coronavirus) in the past 14 days?

  • Do you have any Influenza (Flu) Like Illness (ILI) symptoms such as fever, chills, myalgia (muscle pain), headache, malaise, nonproductive cough, sore throat, or rhinitis (sniffles, runny nose)?

For the latest regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the University updates page.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Although we have a lot to learn about this virus, it appears to spread like other respiratory viruses — by people with the infection coughing and sneezing. These droplets are inhaled by other people or moved to the eyes, nose, or mouth by contaminated hands.

Symptoms of COVID-19 are flu-like and include fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications or those over age 60, may develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia.

If you have an appointment for routine care (such as an exam, a cleaning, or a filling), it is being canceled. Following expert recommendations, we are now restricting patient visits to urgent or emergency care only, as indicated above. We will work with you to reschedule your visit.

To reschedule an appointment or if you have any questions, please call our contact center at 843-876-7645.

Translators, parents, guardians, and other necessary support people are welcome to accompany our patients to appointments but must remain in the waiting area unless their presence in the treatment room is required for treatment. You are expected to honor social distancing recommendations and remain 6 feet from others in hallways and reception areas, and during social interactions. Depending on how many people are in the waiting area, they may be asked to wait in another area or outside. They must pass the School of Dentistry COVID-19 screening procedure on arrival. Additional screening may continue later. Any other people, including children, may NOT accompany the patient to his/her appointment.

Please note carefully: Patients may be accompanied into the actual treatment area by another person or service animal ONLY if their presence is essential for completion of the dental treatment. An accompanying person must first pass all our screening for COVID-19, including the absence of any fever over 100 degrees F. This screening must be done by School of Dentistry personnel.

Please wait until you hear back from us. We are trying to respond to our patients’ calls as quickly as possible, but under the current circumstances, our response may be delayed.

If you have a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, call and speak with your health care provider before going to a medical facility. Contact MUSC Health Virtual urgent care for an online visit free of charge. Do not go to an emergency room. If you believe you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 9-1-1.

If you do feel ill, don’t panic. Most people who get the novel coronavirus disease have only minor symptoms and do not need medical care. In fact, most people with symptoms who are tested for COVID-19 have a negative test. Their symptoms are most likely due to influenza or seasonal allergies. However, you should contact your doctor to inform him/her of your symptoms and get advice.

If you have a mild case, your doctor may advise you to treat your symptoms at home. Staying home also helps prevent you from exposing other people to the disease.

For those who have a more serious case, call before you head to the urgent care or emergency room. That will help the medical team to prepare for your arrival, so you can receive the fastest and best possible care. It will also help them to protect other people from your infection.

IIf you have a question about whether you should be tested for COVID-19, you should visit MUSC Virtual Care at musc.edu or communicate with your care provider. What should I do to keep myself and those close to me safe?

The most important steps to take are the same as for every cold and flu season: Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol content; 70% is even better) if you cannot wash. Stay home if you are feeling ill. If you experience symptoms, call your doctor’s office. They will help you determine if you need to be seen and provide you with instructions for seeking medical care.

People at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible, including public places with lots of people and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. This is called “social distancing” and means that in any group, you would never be closer than 6 feet from any other person. People at higher risk include:

  • Older adults
  • People with underlying health conditions including heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes
  • People who have weakened immune systems
  • People who are pregnant