As dentists reopen their offices across the country, they face a complicated logistical reality.
When conducting treatments and cleanings in and around patients’ mouths, they put themselves directly in contact with the respiratory system. According to the CDC, respiratory droplets are the primary way that COVID-19 spreads.
In March, the American Dental Association recommended that dental offices remained closed except for emergency or urgent procedures. Unlike doctors treating potentially infected patients, dentists were not considered front-line workers and had been mainly left out of the distribution of PPE until late May.
On May 11, OSHA published a list of recommendations that dentists should follow to protect themselves from the coronavirus as offices reopen for more than just an emergency procedure.
These recommendations include:
- Encourage workers to stay home if sick
- Maximize use of telemedicine for non-emergency consultations, and prioritize urgent and emergency procedures
- Install physical barriers or partitions between patient treatment areas
- Provide adequate ventilation and airflow in patient treatment areas so that air moves away from staff work areas
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces and equipment with hospital-grade, Environmental Protection Agency-approved cleaning chemicals from List N or that have label claims against the coronavirus
- Minimize the number of staff present when aerosol-generating procedures are performed and ensure staff who are present are appropriately protected
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment, such as eye goggles, face shields and N95 respirators, as necessary to protect dental practitioners and support personnel
- Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns
Of course, patients visiting dental offices also put themselves at a higher risk of exposure.
Without being able to wear a mask during procedures, patients may be more susceptible to respiratory droplets left in the air by other patients. However, many practices are implementing the use of protective dental dams on patients, as well as increasing the circulation and filtration of air.
Dentists, however, can and should wear PPE—especially given the nature of their duties. The tools involved in teeth cleaning, such as a spinning polish brush, are likely to create a spray of respiratory droplets. Other tools, such as the drill used in a cavity filling, also rotate and create spray.
As stated above, dentists should utilize N95 masks as well as eye goggles. Face shields can also provide an additional layer of protection.
Worksite Medical is a mobile medical company that is committed to helping you keep your workplace safe and virus-free, with on-site services such as coronavirus symptom screening and respirator fit testing, along with online instant OSHA respirator medical clearances.
Dental Face Shields & Dentist Respiratory Programs
In partnership with Bristol ID Technologies, we’re proud to offer protective dental face shields to keep you safe and healthy.
- Wraparound design offers face protection for clinicians
- Light-weight, comfortable design includes elastic headband and foam cushion
- Clear Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) shield material offers protection from aerosols, sprays, and splashes
- Fully adjustable band allows for one-size-fits-all
- Custom Branding: Fully brand your shields by adding your company logo or an encouraging message
- Ample space behind the shield allows you to comfortably wear a face mask at the same time
*Note: This shield is not impact resistant and should not be used as protection against open flames or sparks.
We’re here to help you get your doors back open while also keeping you, your team, and your patients safe in the process.
About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.
Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests (including N95 masks), as well as pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.
With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.
Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.
Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!