Coronavirus Disease 2019
Information for

Information for Dentists Page Updated 3-26-2020
Recommendations from CDC, CDA and ADA
On March 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that dental facilities postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits, and prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. This aligns with the American Dental Association (ADA)’s March 16, 2020 recommendation that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures, as well the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)’s March 19, 2020 guidance which said “Dental procedures use PPE and have one of the highest risks of transmission due to the close proximity of the healthcare provider to the patient. To reduce the risk of spread and to preserve PPE, we are recommending that all non-essential dental exams and procedures be postponed until further notice”.

On the same day, March 20th, the California Dental Association (CDA) strongly recommended that dentists practicing in California suspend all in-person dental care with the exception of emergency treatment, until further notice. Their advisory is intended to protect the dentist, the dental team, patients and the community from the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent the unnecessary use of the PPE resources. The CDA states that “this recommendation does not limit dentists from seeing patients that they determine to have a condition needing emergency dental care. Dental emergencies should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the appropriate and necessary timing of in-person treatment.” See the CDA webpage for updates.
American Dental Association  - Definition of Emergency Care and Other Resources
The American Dental Association’s COVID-19 toolkit (available free to all) includes their definitions of emergency and non-emergency dental care, a guide for coding and billing for COVID-19 teledentistry, and a template letter and brochure for patients. The ADA Coronavirus Center also has FAQs and infection control guidance.
Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations
CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.

Special care should be taken to ensure that respirators are reserved for situations where respiratory protection is most important, such as performance of aerosol-generating procedures on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients or provision of care to patients with other infections for which respiratory protection is strongly indicated.

Important Information Regarding Respirators

When airborne infection isolation precautions (expanded or transmission-based) are necessary, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified particulate-filter respirator (e.g., N95, N99, or N100) should be used. The majority of surgical masks are not NIOSH-certified as respirators, and do not satisfy OSHA requirements for respiratory protection. However, certain surgical masks (i.e., surgical N95 respirator) do meet the requirements and are certified by NIOSH as respirators. The level of protection a respirator provides is determined by the efficiency of the filter material for incoming air and how well the face piece fits or seals to the face. When respirators are used while treating patients with diseases requiring airborne-transmission precautions they should be used in the context of a complete respiratory protection program. This program should include training and fit testing to ensure an adequate seal between the edges of the respirator and the wearer's face. Detailed information regarding respirator programs, including fit-test procedures are available at
Page Updated 3-26-2020

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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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