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ADA urges CDC to provide ‘immediate guidance’ on protecting dental patients, staff from COVID-19 during emergency treatments

Guidance would also reduce emergency department visits, Association says

March 24, 2020

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The American Dental Association is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide immediate guidance on the best way to protect dental patients and staff from the transmission of COVID-19 during emergency and urgent care situations.

In a March 24 letter to CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D, ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin told the agency that the Association is “being inundated by requests for guidance on how to safely provide both emergency care and urgent care in dental settings, where there is a high risk of being exposed to COVID-19.”

Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin told Dr. Redfield that on March 16 the ADA issued a statement asking dentists to postpone nonemergency procedures and shared the ADA’s guidance that was developed to help dentists distinguish dental emergencies and urgent situations from less urgent care.

“We urge you to publish immediate guidance on how to protect patients and dental workers during emergency and urgent care episodes during the COVID-19 outbreak,” the letter concluded. “Such guidance would also go a long way to help prevent unnecessary referrals to local hospital emergency departments during this time of crisis.”

Visit ADA.org/virus for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic.