Dentaltown May 2020 - 35

Staying safe
The numbers are, of course, upsetting. And, as we
know, influenza is something that we experience every
year. We are not sure how recurrent COVID-19 will be,
but we do know that proper respiratory hygiene helps
lessen the spread of these infections. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends
respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette in health care
settings when addressing flu concerns.3
These logical, conscientious measures should be taken
to prevent the spread of illness. The CDC recommends
the following processes be implemented at the first point
of contact with a potentially infected person to protect
dental health care professionals:
* Visual alerts. Post adequate signage at the
entrance to facilities instructing patients and
those who accompany them to inform dental
health care professionals of any symptoms
of respiratory infection. Visual alerts should
advise patients about covering their coughs
and information about personal protective
equipment, like using supplied products at an
infection prevention station.
* Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette. Those
demonstrating a cough may still need to be seen.
In such cases, those with signs and symptoms
of respiratory infection should be advised to
cover their mouth and nose with a tissue while
coughing or sneezing; dispose of the tissue in
the nearest waste receptacle; and perform hand
hygiene (including hand-washing with nonantimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand
rub or antiseptic hand wash).
* Dental practices should ensure the availability of
materials for adhering to respiratory hygiene/
cough etiquette in waiting areas for patients and
visitors, including providing tissues and no-touch
receptacles for used tissue disposal and providing
conveniently located dispensers of alcohol-based
hand rub. Where sinks are available, ensure that
supplies for hand-washing (e.g., soap, disposable
towels) are consistently available.

*

*

Masking and separation of persons with
respiratory symptoms. When there is an
increase in community respiratory infection
activity (for instance, increased absenteeism
in schools and work settings and increased
medical office visits by persons complaining of
respiratory illness), offer masks to those who
are coughing. Depending on your supply levels,
either procedure masks or surgical masks may
be used to contain respiratory secretions. When
space permits, encourage coughing individuals to
stay at least 3 feet away from others in common
areas. Of course, this distance may need to be
increased, depending on the infection concern
(COVID-19, for instance, requires a 6-foot
distance).
Droplet precautions. Dental health professionals
should observe droplet precautions (e.g.,
wearing a surgical or procedure mask for close
contact), in addition to standard precautions,
when examining a patient with symptoms of a
respiratory infection.

Emergency care
Should conditions exist, it is ill-advised to perform
elective procedures. That is, no one should be put at
risk for the sake of cleanings, cosmetic procedures or
anything else that can wait. Dentists may opt to see
patients only when emergency conditions exist; such
was the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The American Dental Association recognizes the
unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists
and all health care professionals face related to growing
concern about COVID-19," according to the March 16
statement from ADA President Chad P. Gehani. "The
ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being
of the public and the dental team. In order for dentistry
to do its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the
ADA recommends dentists nationwide postpone elective
procedures. ... Concentrating on emergency dental care
will allow us to care for our emergency patients and
alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would
place on hospital emergency departments."4
dentaltown.com \\ MAY 2020

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Dentaltown May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown May 2020

Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover1
Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover2
Dentaltown May 2020 - 1
Dentaltown May 2020 - 2
Dentaltown May 2020 - 3
Dentaltown May 2020 - 4
Dentaltown May 2020 - 5
Dentaltown May 2020 - 6
Dentaltown May 2020 - 7
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Dentaltown May 2020 - 9
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Dentaltown May 2020 - 18
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Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover3
Dentaltown May 2020 - Cover4
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