Dentists struggling to protect themselves against COVID-19 without PPE

Dentists across the U.S. are spending thousands on new devices and air filters as they reopen, but are still struggling to obtain the basics to protect themselves and others, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Personal protective equipment like N95 and KN95 respirators, high-grade surgical masks, gowns and face shields are in short supply for many dentists.

"It's been impossible to get enough proper PPE," said Don Yoshikawa, DDS, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based dentist who reopened this week. "My dental supply company has been on back-order for months."

Dr. Yoshikawa hasn't been able to obtain new N95 or high-grade surgical masks. He has some from pre-pandemic days and has no choice but to use them more than once, the dentist told WSJ.

In a mid-May ADA poll, 53.2 percent of dentists with closed practices said they couldn't reopen because they lacked an adequate supply of PPE. Around a quarter of those respondents said they were concerned about COVID-19 transmission to their dental team.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently raised dentists to fourth on the PPE priority list, after hospitals, nursing homes and physicians. The agency has said it will give about 2.5 million N95 respirators to the ADA to distribute among members, according to Chad Gehani, DDS, ADA president.

More articles on dental:
How a Kentucky DSO is weathering the COVID-19 storm — 4 notes
5 things dentists should know about teledentistry billing
Dentists hold ground on infection control fees amid patient complaints

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