Interim Reopening Guidelines for Dental Practitioners Released by the CDC
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently updated the Infection Prevention guidance and the overall control guidance for dental practitioners that are making the choice to resume all of their non-emergency care services during the current pandemic.
As a dental practitioner, you understand that you must achieve a balance during these challenging times. You have to balance the necessary services that your patients require while minimizing risks to those patients as well as the healthcare personnel that work within your practice.
Here, we will review some of the main guidance suggestions put into place by the CDC that will help you achieve these goals.
In March of 2020, the CDC provided a recommendation that dental practitioners should make highly urgent needs and emergency situations their priority. At that time, it was recommended that all elective-based visits from patients and elective procedures be delayed. The purpose was to protect patients, staff, and to preserve supplies – such as personal protective equipment.
Recently, states have started to open up or resume some sense of normalcy compared to that prior to the start of the pandemic.
Despite this, COVID-19 is still spreading. To date, there is no confirmed treatment or vaccine for the condition and it is a potentially deadly condition.
You must take precautions when serving the public and you must take care to make your patients feel comfortable in your facility.
Patient Management Strategies
The first step to keeping your staff and your patients safe from the contraction of COVID-19 is to practice optimal patient management.
Start by screening all patients by telephone. You should inquire about symptoms and determining their risk for carrying the illness.
Upon arrival, they should be screened, their temperature should be checked, they should be advised to sanitize their hands, they should be provided with a face covering, and advised to keep it on at all times.
You should limit the visitors that your patients bring to your office, or complete restrict additional guests.
There are numerous steps that should be used to make your facility safe and inviting for both your staff and your patients. These include – but are not limited to – the following:
- Screen everyone that comes into your practice for symptoms such as fever and respiratory complications – including your staff. If Any display symptoms or have a fever, simply request that they return at a later time.
- Post information at your door, throughout your facility, and in the restrooms about relevant topics – such as cough etiquette, hand washing, face coverings, and other safety measures that may be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Place chairs, markers, and other areas where people visit or wait in your practice at least 6 feet apart to ensure social distancing.
- Place barriers around your practice to limit close contact and those that are potentially infected with COVID-19.
- Remove all items from your waiting area and rooms that may be frequently touched by others – such as magazines and even toys that your younger patients would find attractive.
- Do not overlap appointments. Space them out so that patients are not in close contact with others and you have time to thoroughly clean and disinfect the practice, waiting area, and room prior to receiving other patients.
- Utilize a high volume suction dental aerosol control system in order to safely provide services to your patients while eliminating harmful contaminants, such as the coronavirus that is currently causing our pandemic.
- Have all of your dental handpieces and other dental instruments completely sanitized and maintained so that patients have a higher level of confidence in visiting your practice and receiving services there.
- Stay alert to changes in the health of your staff. Should any cause for concern arise, request that they seek medical attention immediately and provide them with the necessary time off so that they may recover.
- Finally, ensure that your facility is completely cleaned and it is thoroughly sanitized. This includes wall, floors, HVAC system, seating, counters, and other spaces. No action is considered to be excessive in these times.
We Can Help
We here at Hughes Dental are here to assist you in keeping to the CDC guidelines. Not only are we capable of providing systems that will eliminate contaminants, we are also capable of cleaning, sanitizing, and maintaining the most critical aspects of your practice – your tools and instruments. For more information, contact us today by calling: 1-800-773-0800