**For General Guidance on COVID-19 for Dental Practices, please see our post Coronavirus Resources for Physicians and Dentists.
Dentists should also be aware of the following guidance:
- State Governors have issued directions to all industries regarding the outbreak. Know what your Governor has said about dental practices (or health care practices in general).
- The CDC has now advised healthcare facilities and clinicians (including dentists) to “prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks.” Specifically, the CDC has advised that all routine dental exams and elective procedures be postponed. See: CDC Guidance for Health Care Clinics
- The American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a statement recommending that “dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures for the next three weeks.” The ADA recognizes that “it is up to dentists to make well-informed decisions about their patients and practices,” but may change its recommendation in light of the CDC’s position. The ADA will update its recommendation on an ongoing basis. Stay tuned to this Blog for details.
- State Dental Associations and some State Boards of Dentistry are echoing the ADA’s recommendation. Be sure to check the the websites for these Associations and Boards for updates. Note that failure to comply with direction from your State Board of Dentistry could result in adverse action against your dental license.
- State Departments of Health are issuing guidance on preventing transmission of COVID-19 and reporting cases. Check your State Department of Health’s website for more information. For guidance from Pennsylvania Department of Health, see this link: PA DOH Guidance for Health Care Providers
- ***UPDATE: As of March 22, 2020, the Pennsylvania DOH has issued guidance directing all dental offices and facilities to close, except to the extent that they can perform emergency procedures in accordance with very strict physical environment, filtration and sanitation guidelines. Please see the DOH Guidance here: DOH Guidance Restricting Dental Emergency Procedures
- The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AAOMS) has issued detailed guidance for oral and maxillofacial surgery practices (see: AAOMS COVID-19 Guidance). Although similar to the ADA’s guidance, the AAOMS goes farther and asks oral surgeons to determine whether the patient’s need for surgery is “essential and immediate,” following “extensive discussions” with the patient.
Finally, when their practices are open, dentists should seriously consider use of patient notices regarding the practice’s policy on COVID-19, patient acknowledgement forms to screen for symptoms and recent travel, and a proactive rescheduling policy for at-risk patients. See our post COVID-19 Patient Notice and Acknowledgement Forms for more information.
If you have any questions on what is best for your dental practice, please do not hesitate to contact us.