COVID-19: Screening, Updates, Visitor Policy

Important Notice to Dental Patients Regarding COVID-19

The College of Dental Medicine will begin scheduling patients for routine clinical care after May 18. This will occur in a carefully controlled and limited manner, beginning with faculty practice and resident programs. The number of patients normally seen each day will be reduced. We will prioritize patients according to their immediate treatment needs.

Urgent Care 

The College of Dental Medicine will continue to provide urgent care in our urgent care clinic. If you have an urgent care 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.

ROUTINE DENTAL CARE (non-urgent) 

Patients will be scheduled for routine dental care appointments beginning May 18, 2020.

We will begin seeing patients at a greatly reduced capacity, beginning with faculty practice and residency programs. Dental students will begin seeing patients at a later date.

All patients will be called and scheduled for their appointment by our scheduling staff. Patients will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 test (free of charge) prior to their dental appointment. This test will be required in order to be seen for routine care.

We are incorporating many changes into the way we deliver dental care. In order to assure the safety of our patients and our healthcare providers we will be making changes to assure social distancing while in our buildings. There will be changes to our waiting areas, check in and check out procedures, everyone will be asked to wear a mask and great care will be taken to continually keep our premises clean and disinfected. We will follow infection control procedures that meet or exceed those recommended by the CDC. In order to reduce the number of patients and time spent in our waiting rooms, we will ask you to remain in your car prior to your appointment and call to let us know you have arrived.

Additional details will be given to each patient as they are appointed, and this webpage will be updated as needed.

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)?

  • Have you recently lost your ability to smell or taste or do you have an alteration/distortion in these senses?

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.

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