Dentists and other healthcare professionals are on the front-lines of the battle against the novel coronavirus. The American Dental Association has recommended that dentists forgo elective procedures and to follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It goes without saying that standard dental safety protocols should always be followed. At the same time, a key issue during this crisis is the availability of personal protective equipment for dentists, hygienists and other dental staff members. Nonetheless, the FDA’s regulations on single-use disposable in dental healthcare settings always apply:
- Surgical masks and eye protection or a face shield should be used to protect the eyes, nose and mouth from splattering of blood and other bodily fluids.
- Dentists and hygienists must change masks between patients, or during treatment if the mask becomes wet.
In addition, the CDC guidelines recommend that if a patient shows signs of a respiratory ailment, dental practices should consider postponing non-emergency procedures. If dental treatment is urgent, dental practices should determine (1) appropriate precautions on a case-by-case basis and (2) whether the dental office is the appropriate setting for treating a potentially Covid-19 infected patient.
The CDC also recommends following standard precautions at all times:
- Patients with a respiratory ailment should be identified at check-in and placed in a single-patient room with the door closed.
- Prevent the potential transmission of the Covid-19 virus by following respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette infection control measures.
- Provide patients who are coughing with a disposable surgical mask
- Provide tissues and no-touch receptacles for disposal.
- People who are ill should wear a surgical mask when outside the patient room.
- Dental health-care personnel assessing a patient with symptoms of a respiratory illness should wear disposable surgical facemask, non-sterile gloves, gown and eye protection (e.g. goggles) to prevent exposure.
- Patient and dental health-care workers should always perform proper hand hygiene.
- Routine cleaning and disinfection strategies used should be applied to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
At LaMaster Law, we will continue to provide our dental clients with informed representation when they need it most during the Covid-19 crisis. To follow social distancing protocols, we offer consultation by conference call and on-line. Should you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office to set up a virtual consultation.