CDC updates interim COVID-19 guidance for dental practices: 6 notes

The CDC updated its interim COVID-19 infection control guidance for dental healthcare personnel Sept. 10.

Six things to know:

1. Dental providers should regularly consult state dental boards and local health departments for current information and recommendations and requirements specific to their jurisdictions, which might change based on community transmission levels.

2. Postpone all nonurgent dental treatment for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and patients who meet criteria for quarantine.

3. If a patient has a fever strongly associated with a dental diagnosis (e.g., pulpal and periapical dental pain and intraoral swelling are present) but no other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are present, dental care can be provided following the practices recommended for routine pandemic care.

4. When performing aerosol-generating procedures, ensure providers correctly wear the recommended personal protective equipment and use mitigation methods such as four-handed dentistry, high-evacuation suction and dental dams to minimize droplet spatter.

5. Treatment should be provided in individual patient rooms whenever possible.

6. For facilities with open floor plans:

  • There should be at least 6 feet of space between patient chairs.
  • There should be physical barriers between patient chairs.
  • Operatories should be oriented parallel to the direction of airflow.
  • When possible, consider patient orientation, placing the patient's head near return air vents, away from pedestrian corridors and toward the rear wall when using vestibule-type office layouts.
  • Ensure to account for the time required to clean and disinfect operatories between patients.

For more on dental infection control practices amid the pandemic, click here.

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