Non-urgent public dental procedures have been placed on hold in Victoria for the next three months to limit the spread of coronavirus.
The suspension of public dental is in effect immediately, on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.
Access to emergency and urgent dental care is still available through community-based dental services, including Bendigo Health's dental service.
Australian Dental Association president Carmelo Bonanno says that new practice restrictions will have an impact on the industry.
"New restrictions will severely curtail the provision of dental care across all regional and metro areas, and as a result, the viability of many practices," Dr Bonanno said.
The recently updated ADA dental service restrictions in Covid-19 document outlines the services permitted during level three restrictions.
These includes services that do not or limit the production of aerosols, such as the management of acute dental pain and significantly damaged upper front teeth.
It recommends the deferral of all routine examinations and dental treatments including broken or chipped teeth, bleeding or sore gums, denture concerns, crown and bridge and scale and clean procedures.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos says the postponement of non-urgent dental services will free up personal protective equipment for front line health workers.
Dr Bonanno says the dental industry has been short of protective masks for weeks, but recently reached an agreement with the Federal Government to access surgical masks from its national stockpile.
"The government stepped in and allowed practices with less than a week's worth of masks stock left to access appropriate numbers of surgical masks," Dr Bonanno said.
A Bendigo Health spokesperson said any staff impacted by the postponement of dental services will be redeployed within the health service.
"Full dental services will recommence as soon as possible, but only when it is safe to do so," the spokesperson said.
The state's Smile Squad school dental program for public primary and secondary school students has also been suspended.
The program received $321.9 million in funding over four years and includes 250 dental vans and 500 dental health professionals.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.