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Safeguards In Place To Safely Resume Nonemergency Dental Procedures, Dentists Say

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The Sacramento (CA) Bee (5/13, Bizjak, Sabalow) reports that dental offices in California are “reopening this week to more patients.” The article notes that “both the state Department of Public Health and the California Dental Association [CDA] last week signaled to dentists they can ramp up with patient loads, if they follow coronavirus-safety guidelines.” Dr. Stephanie Sandretti, a dentist on the CDA’s government affairs council, said, “A dental office has been a clean place and now it is going to be an even cleaner place.” KABC-TV Los Angeles (5/13, Lara) reports that Dr. Richard Nagy, president of the CDA, said, “Dentistry has always been at the forefront of infection control.”

In Michigan, WOOD-TV Grand Rapids, MI (5/13, Francis) reports that “hundreds of dentists across the state are pushing for the governor to let them get back to work,” saying that continuing to delay nonemergency dental procedures could result in “a public health crisis.” An oral surgeon said, “Dentistry has been at the forefront of wearing personal protective equipment.” The article states that “many dentists across the state are using the downtime to prepare,” studying the American Dental Association’s recommendations about how to safely reopen.

The Rolla (MO) Daily News (5/13) reports that dentists in Missouri now may resume nonemergency procedures “at their discretion as part of Governor Mike Parson’s Show Me Strong Recovery Plan.” The article reports that when patients receive care, they will see new processes intended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Missouri Dental Association (MDA). Dr. Mike Berry, president of the MDA, said, “We’re taking all the steps to ensure it’s safe to come back to the dentist.”

In addition, WCAX-TV Burlington, VT (5/13, Borden) reports that “as Governor Phil Scott continues to reopen sectors of the Vermont economy,” for dentists in the state, “reopening offices has become a bit of a waiting game.” The article reports, “The Vermont State Dental Society in conjunction with OSHA, the CDC and the Board of Dental Examiners has come up with eight pages of guidance to submit to the Office of Professional Regulation, and later the Department of Health.”

The ADA offers information on state mandates and recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To aid dentists who may be reopening their practices when state mandates are lifted, the ADA issued a statement and interim guidance April 18 on the personal protective equipment recommended in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission. The ADA also issued a new chart called Understanding Face Masks that highlights the characteristics of several common types of mask and their appropriate uses. The chart also addresses mask fit protocols and usage limitations.

In addition, the ADA offers the Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit, a free resource to help dentists return to more normal practice operations while taking precautions to protect staff, patients, and themselves from COVID-19.

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