COVID-19 resources for Dental Professionals
CDC Guidance for Dental Settings
The Centers for Disease Control regularly updates its Guidance for Dental Settings. Please review the current guidance to see how to implement the recommendations into your practice.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC COVID-19 Vaccination
- COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit
- Talking to Recipients about COVID-19 Vaccines
- Understanding and Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines
- Answering Patients’ Questions
- Continuing the Journey of a COVID-19 Vaccine
- COVID-19 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Vaccine Recommendations
CDC Updates Guidance on What Constitutes “Close Contact”
On October 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revised their COVID-19 guidance defining what constitutes “Close Contact.” Please find the updated definition below. You can access more information at the CDC link below.
Close Contact: Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
PPE + OFFICE OPERATIONS RESOURCES
The AOS is committed to connect you with the resources you need as you continue to navigate changes brought on by COVID-19. We are here to help you protect your patients, your staff and your practice. Among those challenges are the decisions about:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Operational guidance
- Employee Health
- Infection control
- Guidance for COVID-19 Resurgence
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE has long been a reality for dental practices but has taken on new importance in the COVID-19 era. The AOS is committed to helping you connect with the specific equipment you need for N-AGP and AGP, when you need it. The AOS is in regular communication with our industry suppliers in order to identify those best positioned and willing to fulfill large orders from AOS members in a cost-efficient and time-efficient manner. PPE availability includes masks, face shields, gowns and gloves. Some suppliers also offer office supplies such as thermometers and sneeze guards.
- Donning PPE: Put on N95 Respirator
- Doffing PPE: Remove the N95 Respirator
- PPE Protocols for the Dental Team
- Alert: FDA Issues Warning About Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol
Can I Make Vaccines Mandatory for My Employees?
Can you require your employees to get a COVID vaccine or other vaccinations? Ultimately the answer to this question is less about what you *can* do, and more about what you *should* do. Read more in CEDR’s blog:
When Can Dentists Receive a Vaccination?
The ADA has compiled a state-by-state list of COVID-19 vaccine regulations and availability for dentists here. The phase of the process where dentists will receive the COVID-19 vaccine is determined on a state-by-state basis.
Meanwhile, Canadian dentists can access provincial level information on vaccine availability by clicking here and selecting the appropriate option on the dropdown box under “Vaccinations in your province or territory.”
The AOS will share more information with members on the vaccination process as it becomes available.
Whether you’re still preparing to reopen or have been open for months, it’s always good to review your plans to ensure you are on the right track for your patients and the rest of your staff. This includes having scripted responses to address patient concerns, and communicate office policies regarding PPE, appointment scheduling, waiting room procedures and more. Here are some resources to help you get started.
Improved Ventilation to Combat COVID-19
As part of a layered strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the CDC now offers updated guidance on ventilation in buildings. These strategies can decrease the amount of virus particles in the air. The CDC recommends that practices employ multiple tools for mitigation, increasing overall effectiveness.
The AOS has developed a fillable PDF for your use in tracking staff health, including temperatures and any reported symptoms.
How to Cope with Job Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Whether you are going into work or working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the way you work. Fear and anxiety about this new disease and other strong emotions can be overwhelming, and workplace stress can lead to burnout. How you cope with these emotions and stress can affect your well-being, the well-being of the people you care about, your workplace, and your community.
Jackie Dorst, RDH, BS, reviews current information on COVID-19 and the CDC and OSHA Guidance for safe care.
AOS Advocacy Resources and Guidance for COVID-19 Resurgence
As you are likely aware, parts of the United States and Canada are experiencing a resurgence in COVID-19 positive tests and hospitalization numbers. This development may cause state and/or local governmental authorities to consider (or in some cases, impose) a second round of business closure requirements. As with the first round of business closings, the AOS continues to recommend that members monitor and abide by any business closing restrictions imposed by your state and/or local authorities.
However, the AOS also recognizes the extreme burden that these restrictions may have on members’ practices and patients as in-person appointments have experienced interruptions for an extended period of time. The AOS has provided members with a wide range of resources to minimize the disruption, including the AOS’s COVID-19 resource webpage and the work of the AOS’s COVID-19 Task Force.
As part of our ongoing effort to assist members and avoid new COVID-19-related closures, the AOS is equipping component and constituent leadership with resources for advocating before governmental authorities regarding additional business closures.
An important reminder is that active dental treatment is considered emergent care in many state and local jurisdictions – if not providing dental care would result in harm to the patient.
ONLINE LEARNING RESOURCES
COVID-19 is an educational experience for all of us in so many ways. The AOS is committed to ensuring you and your staff have the knowledge and information you need to handle the unique challenges of running a practice in this environment.