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Action Required: Barriers to Resuming Essential Oral Health Care

Action Required! Barriers to Resuming Essential Oral Health Care

Dear ISDS Members:

The closing of dental offices in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has resulted in a serious restriction of essential (as determined by you, the doctor) oral health needs being suspended.  This delay in providing that needed oral care for patients will result in more complex and costly dental treatment if not addressed immediately.  This is on top of the terrible economic strain most practices throughout the state are experiencing. 

To address the need to provide emergency, urgent and non-elective dental care, and at the same time protect patients and the Dental Health Team, the ADA has developed guidance and protocols for treating non-symptomatic patients under the new uncertainties impacted by the Pandemic.  Click here to download the ADA’s “Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit.”

The major hurdle for Dentists to be able to provide care in these uncertain times is adequate and proper PPE as described in the CDC’s “Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response,” which can be accessed here.

The current system for acquiring PPE is controlled by FEMA, which allocates supplies to the states based on perceived need and then distributes through the Public Health system.  Dentistry is at the low end of the priority list for receiving needed PPE.  This needs to change.

What we are asking you to do?

  1. Download and read the ADA’s “Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit.”
  2. Review the CDC Interim Guidance.
  3. Call and/or e-mail your state Senator and Representative and ask them to assist our efforts to get our Governor and the Department of Public Health to support adequate supplies of PPE equipment using these talking points:
  • It is critical that essential, non-elective dental care be resumed so that patients don’t suffer or experience unnecessary pain and/or added financial expenses (please share personal examples of needed care that must be resumed)
  • Explain that dentistry has successfully practiced infection control at the highest level for over 30 years (again, please give examples:  HIV, TB and other infectious diseases).
  • Dentists can only maintain this standard if we have access to proper PPE.  This is a major problem now, and we need your help to get the dental profession moved to a higher priority within the administration for distribution of N-95 masks and other essential protective equipment in order to safeguard patients and the Dental Team.
  • Dentistry has done its part and now needs to resume patient care.  The current barriers to receiving adequate proper PPE will only result in a different crisis related to a lack of oral health care, which is associated and contributing to many underlying health conditions which  are identified as adverse factors for those affected by SARS-CoV-2.

For a list of Senators and Representatives and their contact information in your area, click here.