Infection Control

Official Guidance

From the CDPH

Released May 7, updated guidance for resuming deferred and preventive dental care.

View CDPH Guidance

Official Guidance

From the CDC

Updated December 4, interim infection prevention and control guidance for dental settings during the COVID-19 response.

View CDC Guidance

Screening Patients Prior to Treatment

What steps do we take when the patient presents for treatment?

When the patient presents:

  • Take a temperature reading to verify the absence of a fever (any temperature above 100°C).
  • Reconfirm by observation and verbally with the patient that they are not experiencing signs of upper respiratory illness such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Complete necessary documentation and discussion, such as health history and treatment informed consent form. Have patient sign a statement agreeing to notify the dental practice if within two weeks of treatment they test positive for COVID.
  • A dental practice has a legal and ethical obligation to inform patients if a staff person they have been in contact with has tested positive for COVID.

In addition to recommendations for greater respiratory tract protection through higher-level mask use, these additional procedural precautions should be taken when performing aerosol-generating procedures:

  • Have patient use an antimicrobial rinse before starting a dental procedure; ADA suggests using 1% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Minimize operations that can produce droplets or aerosols; use rubber dams as much as possible.
  • Rinse the oral cavity slowly, avoiding unnecessary splatter.
  • Use high-speed evacuation.
  • Avoid or minimize procedures that may induce coughing, such as taking intraoral X-rays.

After completing treatment, clean and disinfect procedure room surfaces soon after adequate time has passed to allow aerosols to settle. Dispose of single-use PPE immediately and disinfect re-usable PPE in a manner that prevents cross-contamination. If foot coverings were not used, be sure to change and disinfect footwear before leaving the office. Upon returning home, immediately remove clothes and shower, and then wash clothes.