ADA connects with government agencies and organizations to advocate that dental professionals receive personal protection equipment.

Dental professionals who want to get back to work after state mandates are lifted, have been asked to read the updated ADA statement and interim guidance issued April 18, regarding the personal protective equipment (PPE) recommended in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission.

The association is communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other federal agencies, and relevant organizations to advocate for dental professionals, as essential healthcare workers, are prioritized for PPE, according to a report from ADA News.

On March 16, the ADA called on the industry nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures through April 30 in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. President Donald Trump has indicated many states can reopen by May 1, and on April 16 shared federal guidelines for loosening the restrictions.

The ADA acknowledged local or state government decisions regarding closures, including restrictions on elective healthcare, supersede ADA recommendations. In addition, local and state health departments, state dental societies and, in some cases, large urban local dental societies may better understand local disease transmission rates and conditions and make more informed recommendations regarding elective dental care availability.

The ADA wants to help the dental industry minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission when seeing patients by using the appropriate PPE. The ADA’s interim guidance is aimed at assisting dental professionals in making treatment protocol decisions with regard to the use of masks and face shields or goggles. The association urges dental professionals to use the highest level of PPE available when treating patients to reduce the risk of exposure. If masks and either goggles or face shields are not available, there is a higher risk for infection; therefore, the use of professional judgment is key along with knowing the patient’s risk factors.

The association has made its “Understanding Face Masks” chart available, which highlights the characteristics of several common types of masks and their appropriate uses, defining and differentiating between them. The chart also addresses mask fit protocols and usage limitations.