ADA releases interim guidance on minimizing COVID-19 transmission risk when treating dental emergencies

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The American Dental Association has released interim guidance for dentists on how to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission before, during and after treating dental emergencies.

The ADA Interim Guidance for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19 Transmission covers dentist and dental team preparation; screening for COVID-19 status and triaging for dental treatment; instructions for patient arrival; infection control standards and COVID-19 transmission precautions, including personal protective equipment; clinical technique recommendations; steps to follow after suspected, unintentional exposure; environment disinfection between patients; post-operative instructions for patients; and steps to minimize exposure to others when going home after a workday.

The corresponding ADA Interim Guidance Flowcharts for Minimizing Risk of COVID-19 Transmission illustrate algorithms for triaging patients for emergency and urgent dental care, screening to identify COVID-19 infection for emergency and urgent dental patients, and minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission for emergency and urgent dental patients and health care personnel.

The purpose of the algorithms is to assist dentists and dental offices in making informed decisions concerning patient triage, evaluation and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The algorithms are based on the best scientific information currently available to the ADA from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and scientific literature.

The ADA also has created an overview document — Summary of ADA Guidance During the COVID-19 Crisis — that summarizes COVID-19's impact on dentistry, emerging science on the disease, the ADA's guidance for minimizing risk during emergency treatment and the resources the ADA has developed for dentists.

The ADA is developing an online course on this interim guidance and continually updating its COVID-19 resources as new evidence and information become available.

Dentists can email their questions about the guidance to and have them answered in a Q&A to be released next week.

For the ADA's resources on COVID-19, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center for Dentists.