How To Safely Reopen Your Dental Practice Amidst Covid-19
We are in the middle of a crisis. Positive cases seem to be rising every day and everyone is deeply affected by this global pandemic. For almost 2 months, businesses were in complete lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading, including dental practices. Now, as we look toward a phase where reopening certain sectors of the economy are necessary, it is important to consider reopening dental practices safely to serve those who are in need of urgent dental care.
The ADA gave their statement, saying that the longer dental practices remain closed to preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely that patient’s untreated disease will progress, increasing the complexity and cost for treatment.
Given that there is a need for dental practices to operate, you need to make sure you can reopen by complying with the ADA and CDC guidelines to minimize the risk of virus transmission. They issued recommendations that are consistent with the federal and respective state authorities with regards to the guidance in serving patients during the crisis.
Read on to learn the important details to know before reopening your dental practice during COVID-19.
1. There should be enough PPEs available for the dental team.
According to ADA, dentists are urged to use the highest level of PPE available when treating patients to reduce the risk of exposure. They should also be aware that asymptomatic healthy-looking patients cannot be assumed COVID-19 free. Your dental practice should have a strict protocol in regard to the use of masks, face shields, or goggles when operating to the public.
2. Community-wide virus testing, with dentists having access to results.
In the long run, the CDC recommends having these community-wide testing done when available, to implement the necessary precautions needed. They suggest having a rapid point-of-care virus testing that should be administered in the dental office to get accurate and faster results. This is necessary to determine the appropriate precautions used in your dental practice. Additionally, there should be antibody testing to confirm immunity, and dentists should have access to these tests and results.
3. Take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of exposure.
Providing frequent close contact procedures that are common in a dental practice will require meeting several conditions. There should be social distancing protocols and other measures that can provide the necessary levels of safety for everyone. According to the ADA, local and state health departments, state dental societies, and large urban local dental societies, should be aware and understand the local disease transmission rates and conditions when making an informed recommendation regarding dental care availability.