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 COVID-19 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 weeks2 until offices begin to reopen. It aligns with other recommendations in healthcare.
The following information can assist dentists and dental offices in making informed decisions concerning patient triage, evaluation, and treatment during the COVID-19 crisis.
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:
If available, wear gloves, a gown, eye protection (i.e., goggles or a disposable/reusable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face), and an N95 or higher-level respirator during emergency dental care for patients without COVID-19.
- Disposable respirators should be removed and discarded after exiting the patient’s room or care area.
- Reusable eye protection must be cleaned and disinfected according to manufacturer’s reprocessing instructions prior to re-use. Disposable eye protection should be discarded after use.
- Change gown if it becomes soiled. Remove and discard the gown in a dedicated container for waste or linen before leaving the patient room or care area. Disposable gowns should be discarded after use. Cloth gowns should be laundered after each use.
For dental professionals:
Click below for more details concerning Infection Control Considerations:3
1. American Dental Association (ADA) > Infection Control. Accessed 9 Apr 2020.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) > Guidance for Providing Dental Care During COVID-19. Accessed 9 Apr 2020.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) > Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) > Healthcare Professionals > Infection Control. Accessed 9 Apr 2020.