During this unprecedented time, you may be hearing that dental offices cannot see you for “non-emergency” dental care. This then begs the question, what is considered a dental emergency? Does that apply to me?

It’s true that regular dental cleanings and restorative treatments are important for your oral and overall health. However, during this time, we all need to do our part to flatten the COVID-19 curve and stay home. Slowing transmission of this virus is our top priority over non-urgent dental care.

But what if you’re experiencing a dental emergency?

The Minnesota Board of Dentistry…Opens in a new window to MBD homepage… defines a dental emergency as follows:

An emergency dental procedure would include those that relieve pain and infection, restore function (e.g. fractured tooth), or are trauma-related.
Young man experiencing a dental emergency holding his jaw in pain while laying in the dental chair.

What are the symptoms to look for?

Our team at River Valley Dental has compiled this list of questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering what is considered a dental emergency:

• Are you having severe pain?
• Have you been struck in the mouth? If yes, is your tooth knocked loose or knocked out of mouth?
• Do you have swelling in the mouth, facial area, or down into the neck?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you should contact our office immediately.

Avoid the emergency room unless absolutely necessary

Please try to get in touch with Dr. Pooley prior to visiting the emergency room during this time.


By visiting an emergency room, you are risking unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. Visiting the emergency room should be your last resort.

When it comes to addressing your dental emergency, Dr. Pooley has the best clinical judgment since he knows your dental history, possible systemic conditions, and if postponing will cause serious risk to your oral health.

If you are still questioning whether or not to seek immediate medical care, we encourage you to call or email our office right away. We’ll gladly assist you in determining the urgency of your condition.

If you are calling outside business hours and we don’t answer the phone, please leave a message with your concern and we’ll get back to you promptly.

You may not need to leave your house

Depending on the severity of your condition, we may be able to help you without you having to come into the office.

We offer teledentistry, where you can take a photo of the area and text it to our dentist in Mankato, MN. He’ll get back to you with a professional assessment and treatment steps.

We’ll be back soon!

We know this is an incredibly difficult time, and limited access to critical or even routine dental care can add to your stress. Rest assured, when we are back to seeing patients as normal, we are here and ready to serve you!

If we have not already contacted you to reschedule your appointments, please call or email us to do so:

Please know we value each of you as our patient, and only want the best for you and your family.

Our #1 goal is to keep you safe and healthy and stop the spread of COVID-19.

We appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Stay well!