Dental Offices

Dental facilities and dental health care providers (DHCP) may resume elective dental services. Since dental work often creates aerosols, it carries an added risk of spreading COVID-19, especially to the DHCP, who may then spread it to others. Recommendations follow the CDC and other professional organization guidance to keep patients, DHCP and the community safe. Effective Date – Monday, May 18, 2020

Phase I Guidelines

  • Follow the screening guidelines for patients and dental team as outlined in the ADH Guidelines
  • The proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is made available to all staff members and disinfectant protocols have been updated to reflect issues related to the SAR-CoV-2 Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Phase I should begin with a reduced volume of patients scheduled to maintain appropriate social distancing, minimize congregation at the business desk for check-in/check-out patients
  • All providers must eliminate traditional reception/common rooms seating areas and implement nontraditional alternatives (call ahead registration, wait in car until called, etc.).
    • Remove all magazines, TV remotes, toys, etc. that may typically be handled by patients.
    • Social distancing requirements are to be maintained in all settings where people must wait in order to minimize direct personal contact between individuals within the facility.
  • All providers must plan for and ensure enhanced workplace sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • All patients and dental team members should wear appropriate face mask coverings while within the facility.
  • Using professional judgement, the focus of treatment should be on treating active decay, periodontitis and prevention services.
  • Patients should use a preprocedural mouth rinse of 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% provodine to reduce the oral microflora.
  • In high aerosol risk treatment areas, all providers must wear appropriate PPE and strictly adhere to aerosol mitigation and controls.
  • Ultrasonic/piezo/sonic instrumentation is not to be used at this time. Limit dental hygiene procedures to hand instrumentation and slow speed hand piece for coronal polishing.
  • Allot longer appointment times to allow proper disinfecting protocols to be completed. Follow the recommended time (product label) for the disinfectants to remain on surfaces in order to be effective.
  • Implement protocols to minimize exposures after procedures:
    • Ask patients to wash their hands for 20 seconds and to wear the provided surgical mask when they leave the treatment area.
    • When possible, provide all necessary information to patients in the procedure room to avoid congregation at the front desk/waiting area on their way to exit the clinic.
    • Complete paperwork electronically before or after the appointment if possible.
  • Transitioning to subsequent phases will be determined by the course and decline of impact related to COVID-19 cases in Arkansas.
  • Each dental facility must have an ample supply of PPE (including N95 respirator mask or comparable alternative) for resuming elective dental treatment while maintaining a reserve should there be a resurgence of the virus.