CDC removes 15-minute wait recommendation for cleaning, disinfecting dental operatories

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention no longer recommends that dental care personnel “wait 15 minutes after completion of clinical care and exit of each patient without suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to begin to clean and disinfect room surfaces.”

The recommendation to wait 15 minutes was originally included in the CDC’s Guidance for Dental Settings released May 19. The guidance provides interim infection prevention and control considerations for dental settings during the COVID-19 response.

But the recommendation was removed in a June 17 update. According to the CDC’s summary of recent changes, the recommendation was removed to align with the CDC’s separate interim infection prevention and control recommendations for health care personnel. 

CDA reported earlier this month that the California Department of Public Health would review its own Guidance for Resuming Deferred and Preventive Dental Care to determine if any adjustments would be needed to align with the CDC’s Guidance. The CDPH did not revise its guidance.

In its June 17 update, the CDC also changed the recommended time period for patients to inform the dental office if they develop symptoms of or are diagnosed with COVID-19 after a dental appointment.  Patients should inform the office within two days to align with the CDC’s Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure Guidance.

CDA’s Clinical Care Workgroup developed a full suite of resources to help dentists get back to practice:

  • Practice preparation: These resources support practices preparing to reopen their doors and include patient posters, PPE guidance and marketing tips.
  • Patient care: Screening forms, flowcharts and other resources will help dental offices communicate with patients and implement screening protocols.
  • Practice management: Dental teams can use these resources to perform essential record-keeping, follow regulations and understand economic relief options.
  • Back to practice staff training: This C.E.-eligible training course provides step-by-step guidance for facilitating a formal training session with the dental team. It covers everything dental teams should know and do when practicing during the pandemic. 

To browse all resources, visit the Back to Practice Resource Center.

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