Protect the Safety of your Dental Team and Patients: offices postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits

ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures1

In order to protect staff and preserve personal protective equipment and patient care supplies, as well as expand available hospital capacity during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that dental facilities postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits, and prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks.2 It aligns with other recommendations in healthcare.

Similar to many other regions, the United Kingdom entered the delay phase of the coronavirus pandemic, stringent measures were put in place to prevent the sustained transmission of COVID-19. As part of this, the provision of all routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics were stopped until further notice.3 Urgent and emergency dental services would still be delivered across every NHS region through robust infection prevention and control policies under the guidance of Public Health England.

The following information can assist dentists and dental offices in making informed decisions concerning patient triage, evaluation, and treatment during the COVID-19 crisis.

As we are now in the sustained transmission phase of COVID-19, we need to consider that all patients may potentially have the virus. Therefore, for all patients attending any face-to-face consultation and treatment at any Urgent Dental Clinic site, it is important that there is adequate separation either physically or by spacing appointments to ensure that risk of potential contamination is reduced.3 Significant efforts should be made to ensure that shielded patients in particular are separated from other patient groups. These should be aligned with local system and protocols to support shielded patients. Shielded patients are at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19.

Click below for more details concerning guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.

If a patient must be seen in the dental clinic for emergency care, systematically assess the patient at the time of check-in. The patient should be asked about the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection and history of travel to areas experiencing transmission of COVID-19 or contact with possible patients with COVID-19. If the patient is afebrile (temperature < 100.4˚F) and otherwise without symptoms consistent with COVID-19, then emergency dental care may be provided using appropriate engineering controls, work practices, and infection control practices.

Use the highest level of personal protective equipment (PPE) available:  

Aerosol generating procedures (AGP) should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.3 Urgent Dental Clinic Sites undertaking only non-AGP procedures will require Level 2 PPE and undertaking AGPs will require Level 3 PPE.3 Click here and view page 14 - Table 1: Personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 urgent dental care settings.


For dental professionals:  

Click below for more details concerning Infection Control Considerations:4