CDC Updates Its “Guidance for Dental Settings”
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its “Guidance for Dental Settings” on August 4. One of the most significant changes is the recommendation that oral health professionals wear eye protection in addition to facemasks to prevent exposure to respiratory secretions while treating patients. A summary of the latest changes is as follows:
- Guidance has been rearranged for clarity.
- Updated the definition of fever to either measured temperature ≥ 100.0°F or subjective fever to align with CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.
- In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, during patient encounters with patients not suspected of SARS-CoV-2 infection, CDC recommends that dental healthcare personnel (DHCP):
- Wear eye protection in addition to their facemask to ensure the eyes, nose, and mouth are all protected from exposure to respiratory secretions during patient care encounters, including those where splashes and sprays are not anticipated.
- Use an N95 respirator or a respirator that offers an equivalent or higher level of protection during aerosol generating procedures.
- Added language that protective eyewear (eg, safety glasses, trauma glasses) with gaps between glasses and the face likely do not protect eyes from all splashes and sprays.
- Included additional guidance on physical distancing and how to respond to SARS-CoV-2 exposures among DHCP and others.