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Dental personnel must continue to wear N95-equivalent or higher-level respirators during aerosol-generating procedures

February 17, 2022 9064
Face mask rests on top of dental scrub and reads

Quick Summary:

When performing or involved with aerosol-generating procedures (open suctioning of airways, sputum induction and others), dental health care personnel should continue to wear NIOSH-approved N95, N95-equivalent or higher-level respirators. Details on the use of N95s and other safety measures are available in the CDC's recently updated interim infection prevention and control recommendations. When not involved with aerosol-generating procedures, dentists, dental team members and patients should continue to wear well-fitting face masks in the dental office, regardless of vaccination status.

When performing or involved with aerosol-generating procedures (open suctioning of airways, sputum induction and others), dental health care personnel should continue to wear NIOSH-approved N95, N95-equivalent or higher-level respirators. 

Details on the use of N95s and other safety measures are available in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated interim infection prevention and control recommendations for health care settings in the U.S. The CDC’s clinical FAQ lists all procedures considered to be aerosol generating in health care settings. CDA members can also reference CDA’s quick chart on PPE requirements for dental offices and resources to assist with the initial N95 fit test required for each employee who wears an N95.

When not involved with aerosol-generating procedures, dentists, dental team members and patients should continue to wear well-fitting face masks in the dental office, as CDA reported earlier this week. The universal face-mask mandate ended Feb. 16 for vaccinated Californians in most public indoor settings such as restaurants and gyms, but the state’s new guidance specifies that mask requirements for health care settings, including dental and medical offices, and other specified settings still stand for all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status. Patients will remove their masks only when they are receiving care. 

CDA members can save on N95s and other infection-control supplies through TDSC.com, a company founded and partially owned by CDA. And through Feb. 28 only, CDA members can use code CDALOVE10 at checkout to receive 10% off orders of $750 or more.

Email template, office flyers help dentists communicate masking requirements 

CDA resources can help dental offices in California communicate the continued mask requirements to their patients. Resources include an email template, a flyer for posting in the dental office and messaging for use on the practice’s website or social media pages.