Elective Dental Procedures Must Continue to be Postponed
Under authority of Executive Order 2020-215, which declared a state of emergency
in the Commonwealth due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) issued a directive on March 18 requiring healthcare providers, including dentists, to suspend all non-emergent medical procedures. Additional clarification was issued by the Cabinet on March 23. Please note that this order is unrelated to the White House guidelines on social distancing that were set to expire on March 30 and have since been extended to April 30. There is currently no announced end date for this directive, which shall remain in effect until rescinded by the Cabinet. Please see the following memos for details:
03/18/20 CHFS Directive Memo
Recommendations for Dental Offices During State of Emergency
The Board of Dentistry recommends the following actions to comply with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services' directive that all non-emergency dental procedures be postponed:
- Treat only patients requiring essential dental procedures.
- Postpone elective dental treatment and procedures. How long? We don't know. The Dept. of Public Health will be working with the Governor's Office to make that determination.
- Reserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency dental situations. This action will also preserve the limited supply of PPE so it can be used for urgent and more complex medical care that will be needed in the healthcare system.
- When implementing these measures, communicate the importance of the health and safety of your patients, the dental team, and the community.
- Consider donating your PPE and other supplies to those in need of these life-saving materials.
If you see patients in an emergency capacity, consider these measures:
- Pre-screen patients by phone prior to the visit by asking about any potential exposure to known COVID-19 patients and current health. Specific COVID-19 symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. If the patient reports these symptoms, refer them to their primary care physician, local health department, or the COVID-19 Hotline at (800) 722-5725
- When possible, ask patients to remain in their cars instead of coming into the reception area. Notify them by cell phone when their treatment room is ready.
- Close off your waiting room to patients. Remove seating, reading materials, toys, etc.
- Take the temperature of all patients immediately upon arrival. Consider doing this outside your office, if possible.
- Have patients wash hands in the operatory and rinse their mouths with 1% hydrogen peroxide solution. If at all possible, complete procedures using a rubber dam or similar device.
- If treatment is necessary, please consider procedures that do not require extensive (or any) use of a three-way syringe. Use High Velocity Evacuation as much as possible. Use temporary procedures until we get past this outbreak.
- Clean and disinfect public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs and bathrooms.
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