Many states began their slow and steady approach to reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is great. However, other states have strayed from the path to follow their own ideas for reopening. That is fine as well, but what does the American Dental Association (ADA) say? 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Throughout the pandemic there has been a shortage of PPE across the board. This is the reason why elective procedures in dentistry and the medical world had been postponed–to preserve PPE. 

This remains for many other industries. There remains a shortage of PPE because hospitals, long-term care facilities and first responders are given priority by the federal government to obtain PPE. 

With this in mind, the ADA has acknowledged frustrations from dentists and hygienists. They have stated that there is a significant increase in production in the works and they will continue to ensure availability of PPE. In fact, they are hoping that as of July 1, 2020 there will be enough N95 masks for dental practices. 

Disinfecting masks

If you are still struggling to find adequate and enough PPE, the ADA has some recommendations for disinfecting N95 masks during this time. If it is allowed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers some guidelines. You can visit, “Recommended Guidance for Extended Use and Limited Reuse of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators in Healthcare Settings,” to learn more about your options for reuse and disinfecting masks.

Point-of-care testing

The ADA has lobbied for dentists to be able to prescribe and perform point-of-care testing for COVID-19. An accurate test for the presence of COVID-19 is the most predictable way for dentists, dental teams and patients to be safely treated in traditional elective care. 

According to the ADA, licensed dentists are eligible to administer COVID-19 diagnostic tests within their scope of practice. This is only allowed if they obtain a Certificate of Waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as needed. Otherwise, it is important to have patients stay home if they are feeling sick. You can also recommend they call their doctor for next steps and for testing options.

While the battle against COVID-19 is not over, we will all get through this together. Let’s keep our heads held high and take appropriate precautions moving forward to keep our teams and patients healthy.