The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated interim infection prevention and control guidance for dental settings during the COVID-19 response on May 19, 2020, very similar to science-based guidance issued earlier in May by the American Dental Association (ADA).
“Oral health is an important part of overall health,” said ADA President Chad P. Gehani. “Resuming regular dental visits are important because treatment, as well as prevention of dental disease, helps keep people healthy. The guidance from the ADA and the CDC give dental professionals the information they need to practice as safely as possible. I am pleased to see dental practices reopening to provide patients with the dental care they need. The safety of patients, dentists and dental team members has been and always will be ADA’s utmost concern.”
CDC and ADA recommendations include:
- Request that dental staff call patients prior to the scheduled appointment to ask questions about their current health status.
- Advise patients to wear a face-covering when entering the dental practice.
- Limit the number of people who accompany a patient to the appointment. If possible, the patient should make the visit alone.
- Assess all patients upon arrival; temperature checks may be completed.
- Remove items in office waiting rooms such as toys or reading material to limit potential transmission through high-touch surfaces.
- Encourage social distancing practices by minimizing the number of patients in the waiting room by spacing appointments thoughtfully and perhaps by asking patients to wait in their car until the dental staff is ready to treat the patient.
- Advise dental staff members to wear additional personal protective equipment as appropriate, such as surgical masks or N95 masks, full-face shields or goggles with side shields to ensure an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible for patients and the dental team.
- Place hand sanitizer generously around the office for use and ensure surfaces are cleaned regularly.
Updates are occurring rapidly so the Southeast AETC will be providing detailed guidance through our new platform, The Southeast AETC Oral Health Training and Resource Center, which will launch early July 2020.