COVID-19 guidelines updated for dental offices

Virginia’s statewide dental association updated treatment guidelines this week to help continue to ensure the health and safety of patients, dental team members and dentists during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virginia Dental Association worked alongside the Virginia Dental Hygienists’ Association for the revised recommendations, which are based on guidance from the American Dental Association, the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC.

The VDA’s comprehensive guide focuses on four priorities for treating patients during the pandemic:

Minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Optimizing the oral health of Virginians.

Reducing the number of dental emergencies present at emergency departments.

Supporting dental offices while safely resuming activities.

“We’ve been proud to work alongside state and national leaders to establish protocols that minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Elizabeth Reynolds, VDA president. “We will continue to update guidance as new scientific data and recommendations are available. We are committed to patient and staff safety, while helping to proactively ensure the oral health of Virginians. Patients are encouraged to call their dental healthcare provider to make sure any and all concerns are addressed before your visit.”

Some of the protocols patients can typically expect include:

Pre-screening and temperature checks before appointments;

People will “check in” by calling the office from the parking lot and will wait in their car before the appointment;

Masks are required to be worn to appointments;

Appointment scheduling will be staggered to minimize the number of people entering and exiting buildings;

Dental offices have installed physical barriers such as plexiglass in reception areas;

Dental staff and dentists are wearing PPE and practicing social distancing;

Enhanced cleanings of office and equipment with EPA-approved disinfectants.

Patients should contact their dental healthcare provider for specific safety precautions.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, dental offices across Virginia remained open utilizing enhanced safety protocols to treat emergency patients in an effort to minimize patient visits to hospital emergency rooms. Dental offices began seeing patients for non-emergency procedures in May after Governor Northam’s executive order expired.



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