Health departments and dental associations around the country currently recommend that dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) provide services limited to treat dental emergencies in order to both reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and preserve the nation’s limited personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed Infection Prevention and Control (IC) Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response to provide practical information on how DHCP should minimize exposure to COVID-19 when providing emergency care.
CDC recommendations for dental employers include:
- Postpone non-elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits. Refer to the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) guidance on what “constitutes a dental emergency”.
- Contact/screen patients prior to emergency dental treatment. Have referral procedures in place.
- Implement effective engineering and work practice controls, and PPE to minimize exposure during emergency dental treatment. Transmission-based and standard precautions should always be followed.
- Implement potential exposure guidance policy in the event of a potential COVID-19 exposure event.
- Implement flexible sick leave policies for DHCPs.
Refer to the CDC guidance for dental settings for detailed information about the recommendations above.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.