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Dentistry largely exempted from new COVID-19 workplace regulations

Scientific evidence supports existing dental workplace safety

June 14, 2021

Contact Information:
mediarelations@ada.org

Chicago, June 14, 2021 — The American Dental Association (ADA) is pleased dental practices are largely exempt from the new emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19 issued for health care settings by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).    

“This new infection control guidance and very low COVID-19 infection rate for dentists and dental hygienists prove that dental practices are safe workplaces,” states ADA President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D.  

The new OSHA workplace ETS provides guidance to be implemented in health care settings where all employees may not be screened for COVID-19, and non-employees and patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are allowed to enter and may be treated. Dental offices most likely to be affected by this standard would include hospital-based oral surgery practices or those who provide care for COVID-19 patients.

Dental offices should have a written COVID-19 plan in place. If an office is covered under this ETS it is mandated to do so. If an office is exempt, it still should do a hazard assessment and written plan as recommended in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs. Based on OSHA’s Hazard Identification and Assessment, the ADA has already created a guide and checklist to walk dentists through this process at ADA.org/virus

According to OSHA’s recommendations, dentists should continue pre-appointment patient screenings to identify individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, rescheduling their appointments if possible or referring them as necessary. 

As the pandemic restrictions across the country are reviewed at the federal, state and local government levels, the safety of patients, dentists and dental team members will remain ADA’s utmost concern. The ADA notes that per the OSHA guidelines, employers are encouraged to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local regulatory guidelines.

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn

 

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 162,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit

ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org