On March 16 American Dental Association recommended that dentists restrict their practices to all but urgent and emergency care. This recommendation was later extended until April 30 at the earliest. The idea was to observe social distancing, help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, conserve essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical frontline colleagues and avoid the need for patients requiring emergency dental treatment to go to overburdened hospital emergency departments.

As of mid-April, conditions regarding virus transmission vary greatly across the U.S. Some state and local governments are now considering reopening certain businesses considered “essential,” including dental practices, as they phase their communities back into normal operations. The federal government has now released criteria for states to use in making decisions related to elective health care availability and sheltering in place mandates.

To aid dentists who may be reopening their practices when state mandates are lifted, the ADA has developed interim guidance on the PPE recommended in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission. Additional guidance documents will be issued regarding protocols for office and treatment procedures. Be aware that FDA recommendations align with existing CDC recommendations for patients without signs/symptoms of COVID-19, so as an active dentist follow those clinical safety procedures is the best chance to be protected