In Clinical Leadership & Infection Control Gabrielle Masson 

CDC updates guidelines for dental offices resuming care

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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