ADA updates PPE recommendations for dental practices
Friday, April 24, 2020
To help assist and guide dentists across the nation who are reopening their practices as state mandates are lifted, the ADA issued an updated statement and interim guidance April 18 on the specific personal protective equipment recommended in order to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as guidance on ways to minimize the risk of virus transmission.
The ADA is regularly communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other relevant organizations to advocate that dentists should be prioritized for PPE as essential healthcare workers.
Beginning on March 16, the governing organization asked dentists nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures through the end of April in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The recommendation was also made to conserve essential PPE for medical frontline colleagues and first responders. These measures would also keep those patients away from overburdened hospital emergency departments. In other words, emergency dental cases could still be seen in dental practices.
According to the April 18 statement, “The ADA recognizes that local or state government decisions regarding closures, including restrictions regarding elective health care, supersede ADA recommendations. In addition, local and state health departments, state dental societies and, in some cases, large urban local dental societies may better understand local disease transmission rates and conditions and make more informed recommendations regarding elective dental care availability.”
In his daily press conference, President Donald Trump recently indicated that many states will be able to reopen by May 1. On April 16, he shared federal guidelines for loosening some restrictions. State and local governments in some states are now considering reopening certain businesses considered “essential,” which include dental practices, as they slow-roll their communities back into normal operations.
The ADA statement sums it up this way: “The longer dental practices remain closed to preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely that patients’ untreated disease will progress, increasing the complexity and cost for treatment down the road. The safety of patients, dentists and dental team members has been and always will be ADA’s utmost concern.”
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