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.
04/03/23 update: While N95s still must be worn during aerosol-generating procedures, as of today, face masks are now optional for patients and visitors, as well as workers not performing clinical procedures in dental offices and other health care settings in California per new guidance from the state Department of Public Health. The guidance follows Gov. Newsom’s termination on Feb. 28 of California’s pandemic State of Emergency. However, patients, visitors and nonclinical workers always have the option to wear a face mask or respirator and cannot be prevented from doing so.
CDPH recommends that any individual with respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, wear a mask when around others. Dental offices should consider posting signage that reflects their mask policy for patients and visitors.
CDA members can save on N95s and other infection-control supplies through TDSC.com, a company founded and partially owned by CDA.