CDC updates guidelines for dental offices resuming care

Clinical Leadership & Infection Control

The CDC released infection prevention and control guidelines this week for offices resuming nonemergency dental care during the pandemic.

Key takeaways:

1. Tell staff and patients in advance that they need to stay home if sick.

2. Contact all patients before dental treatment.

3. Screen all people for fever and COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of the rate of community spread.

4. Strategically post signs around the office with instructions about hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette. Instructions should include wearing a face mask.

5. Provide hand sanitizer with 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol, tissues and no-touch garbage cans at entrances, waiting rooms and patient check-ins.

6. Install glass or plastic windows at reception areas.

7. Ensure dental unit water lines, autoclaves and instrument-cleaning equipment don't require maintenance or repair. Review manufacturer instructions about equipment use after non-use over a period of time.

8. Dental professionals should limit care to one patient at a time.

9. Avoid the use of dental handpieces and the air/water syringe.

10. Dental professionals should wear a face mask at all times.

11. Properly maintain ventilation systems.

12. Know the steps to take if a patient with COVID-19 symptoms enters the office.

As of May 22, 42 states have allowed dental offices to resume routine care in some capacity, according to CBS News.

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