Orthodontic practices are open and getting back to work. At the same time, many states are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 infection rates. Now more than ever, orthodontic teams need to know what to do if they themselves become infected or have known exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19.  

In this week’s episode, infection control and prevention expert Jackie Dorst, RDH, BS, goes over the guidelines for when: 

  • an orthodontic team member tests positive,
  • a team member has symptoms but has not received the results of a COVID-19 test, and
  • an employee has been exposed to COVID-19. 

In addition, Dorst reiterates the importance of a “care call” to patients 2 days after their appointment to check and see if they are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or have since tested positive. 

N95 Respirator Decontamination

Switching gears, Dorst also provides new information about N95 respirator decontamination. The FDA and NIOSH have approved Battelle, an Ohio-based company, to provide decontamination services for N95 respirator masks at no charge to healthcare providers. This now extends to dental and orthodontic practices. The company has a contract with the federal government that makes the decontamination services free of charge to healthcare providers. Dorst also talks about the requirements for decontamination—including why masks worn by staff wearing makeup, lotions, or sunscreen could be an issue. OP