The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 10 released new research suggesting that wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against COVID-19. While the guidance may be effective in many public settings, dental settings have unique characteristics that warrant specific infection control considerations, and dental teams are advised to continue following PPE recommendations that are specific to dental offices.
The CDA Clinical Care Workgroup used interim infection control guidance from the CDC to develop the PPE guidance last fall specifically for dental practices. The guidance will help to ensure dental teams can continue to care for patients while minimizing the risk of disease transmission.
The guidance recommends the levels of adequate PPE, such as face shields and NIOSH-certified respirators, to best protect patients and dental team members during patient temperature screenings, administrative work, aerosol-generating procedures and other specific services.
Because the cost of PPE continues to fluctuate, CDA is calling on state leaders to ensure that supplies from the state stockpile are distributed equally among health care workers and that providers outside of formal health care sectors, such as dentists, who are unable to purchase PPE as easily as hospital systems, receive emphasis.
The CDC also revised its recommended acceptable time frame between receiving the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC recommends a 21-day interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. The new guidance suggests that if those intervals are not feasible, the second dose of both vaccines can be administered up to 42 days after the first dose.
Dental team members may experience a delay in getting both doses as many local health departments are starting to schedule appointments for second doses according to the new 42-day interval guidelines.
CDA is working closely with the California Department of Public Health to ensure counties are adhering to the established scheduling and tier structures that place dental professionals among the highest priority to receive both doses of the vaccine.
Find the latest developments on PPE recommendations, vaccine administration and CDA’s advocacy efforts in the newsroom.