HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised guidance for dentists, allowing some non-urgent care only if there’s proper PPE.
Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine revised their business closure orders issued in March, and removed the prohibition on elective dental procedures.
“We want to make sure that dental practices are operating in a way that protects everyone working in the dental office, patients, and community,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine in a press release.
“If a practice does not have the proper personal protective equipment to perform procedures, then they simply cannot operate. However, we also realize that we do not want to create additional public health needs after the pandemic related to dental issues. By taking appropriate precautions, dentists across Pennsylvania can provide necessary public health treatments in a safe and effective way.”
According to the guidelines: “Providers may perform non-aerosolizing, non-urgent and non-emergent care only if proper PPE, per OSHA guidance, is available for all dental care practitioners, including dental hygienists.
“Procedures that create a visible spray that contain large particle droplets of water should not be performed because they are considered aerosol generating.”
The Pa. Department of Health and PEMA say they’re not currently prioritizing dental practices for PPE distribution, so dentists will have to secure the personal protective equipment themselves.
All patients are supposed to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, like a temperature or a cough before they come.
Social distancing should be practiced, and patients are asked to wash their hands frequently and wear a mask when they’re not undergoing treatment.