It is no secret that “dental offices are at a high risk for spreading COVID-19 given the aerosol generating nature of dental procedures, the proximity of the operating field to the upper respiratory tract, and the number of patients seen per day.”1As a result, reopening your practice, even if only to provide essential care, requires careful planning and meticulous execution.
Prerequisite for reopening
A prerequisite for reopening your practice is ensuring that you have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep both your staff and your patients safe. Therefore, it is recommended that you take an inventory of the PPE you have on hand to determine the number of patients you can see and the type of procedures you are equipped to perform.
Ensuring sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE)
Although dental offices have always been among the primary users of personal protective equipment, many health authorities and professional associations have issued new guidelines that recommend or require more frequent and widespread use of PPE
For example, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario issued the recommendations below1 to ensure that team members wear appropriate PPE for each procedure or activity:
|OPERATORY/TREATMENT ROOM||Non-aerosol generating procedures (NAGPs)||• ASTM level 2 or 3 Procedure/ |
• Eye protection OR face shield
|OPERATORY/TREATMENT ROOM||Aerosol generating procedures (AGPs)||• N95 respirator (fit-tested, seal-|
checked) or the equivalent
• Eye protection AND face shield
• Protective gown
|OPERATORY/TREATMENT ROOM||Cleaning and disinfection of operatory or other treatment area||• ASTM level 1 procedure mask |
• Eye protection
|REPROCESSING AREA||Reprocessing of reusable instruments||• A STM level 2 or 3 procedure |
• Heavy duty utility-gloves
• Eye protection or face shield
• Protective gown
|RECEPTION AREA||Reception duties||• ASTM level 1 procedure mask |
OR physical barrier
• Maintain physical distancing
|COMMON AND STAFF AREAS||Administrative and other tasks||• ASTM level 1 procedure mask |
OR maintain physical
Please note that these guidelines may differ from those issued by your local authorities/associations and that some authorities now recommend even more stringent measures, including the use of dental dams with every patient and the wearing of medical gowns by dental staff.
No matter how stringent the PPE requirements your practice is now subject to, Medicom has you covered. Visit www.medicom.com to see our complete portfolio.
1 – Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care, May 25, 2020.