June 2, 2020
The American Dental Association (ADA) welcomes the release of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s recently updated Guidance for Dental Settings, noting it is very similar to science-based guidance issued a month ago by the ADA. Both guidances describe how dental professionals, building upon existing infection control measures, can help protect patients and the dental team when re-engaging in providing the full range of oral health care.
“Oral health is an important part of overall health,” according to ADA President Chad Gehani, D.D.S. “Resuming regular dental visits are important because treatment, as well as prevention of dental disease, helps keep people healthy. The guidances from the ADA and the CDC give dental professionals the information they need to practice as safely as possible.”
The CDC guidance provides detailed patient management and facility consideration information for before, during and after dental appointments, which is in close alignment with the ADA’s Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit. CDC and ADA recommendations include:
The CDC’s updated dental settings guidance offers additional recommendations such as how patients can be positioned in the dental chair during appointments and waiting 15 minutes before disinfecting patient treatment rooms after use.
The ADA guidance also includes ways dentists and hygienists can reduce aerosols such as:
It is important to note that both the CDC and ADA guidances are science-based recommendations and not regulations. States control what procedures are allowed to be provided, largely through their licensing boards. For example, in Ohio, the state dental board has chosen to refer dentists to the CDC and ADA for Personal Protection Equipment and infection control recommendations, but not what procedures can be provided in Ohio’s dental practices.
According to the CDC’s guidance, “Dental health care professionals should regularly consult their state dental boards and state or local health departments for current local information for requirements specific to their jurisdictions.”
“I am pleased to see dental practices reopening to provide patients with the dental care they need,” Dr. Gehani said. “The longer patients go without preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely their untreated disease will progress. The safety of patients, dentists and dental team members has been and always will be ADA’s utmost concern.”
Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation’s largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public’s health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA’s state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA’s flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website MouthHealthy.org