The coronavirus (COVID-19) has challenged health professions and systems and has evoked different speeds of reaction and types of response around the world. The role of dental professionals in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 is critically important. While all routine dental care has been suspended in countries experiencing COVID-19 disease during the period of pandemic, the need for organised urgent care delivered by teams provided with appropriate personal protective equipment takes priority. Dental professionals can also contribute to medical care. Major and rapid reorganisation of both clinical and support services is not straightforward. Dental professionals felt a moral duty to reduce routine care for fear of spreading COVID-19 among their patients and beyond, but were understandably concerned about the financial consequences. Amidst the explosion of information available online and through social media, it is difficult to identify reliable research evidence and guidance, but moral decisions must be made.