STATE OF TENNESSEE
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Andrew Johnson Tower, 5th Floor
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, Tennessee 37243
BILL LEE LISA PIERCEY, MD, MBA, FAAP
March 24, 2020
Dear Health Care Providers:
The Tennessee Department of Health would like you to review the newly released Executive
Order regarding the restriction of all non-emergency dental or oral procedures.
The Department is aware that restricting the practice of dentistry may raise concerns among
dentists, especially when presented with life-threatening dental emergencies.
If left untreated, some dental infections can lead to life-threatening conditions. This
recommendation does not limit dentists from seeing patients that they determine to have a
condition needing emergency procedures such as acute dental or oral needs, including
treatment for pain, swelling, trauma, or an abscess. Emergency procedures should be
evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate and necessary timing of inperson treatment.
The intent of Executive Order 18 is to protect the dentist, staff, patients and the community
from the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent the unnecessary use of the PPE resources
that are in extremely short supply, especially N95 masks. As health care providers, dentists
understand their patients’ conditions and use their professional judgment to diagnose if a
patient is experiencing a true dental emergency and determine if it is appropriate to treat with the appropriate PPE.
We appreciate the concerns and feedback expressed by dentists during this challenging
time. We also encourage you to take these actions seriously as not only do our physical and
economic health depend on it, but please be advised that failure to comply is a Class A misdemeanor.
Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP