Oregon dentists recommended limiting dental care amid COVID-19 response


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Dental Association is suggesting that dentists limit non-essential dental care for their patients amid the ongoing response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Although the association stressed there were no mandates on how dentists should continue to proceed amid the pandemic, which has seen nearly 40 cases in Oregon alone as the total skyrockets into the thousands across the country, the ODA recommended dentists doing their part by minimizing the spread.

“We encourage you to thoughtfully consider limiting non-urgent procedures while utilizing appropriate personal protective gear,” the association wrote in a statement.

It’s unclear if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have specific guidance for dentists as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.

ODA also said that OHSA recommended dentists and assistants use respirator masks when working within six feet of patients who may be infected and when performing procedures that generate aerosol; however, the association added it understood that dental offices do not typically have these kinds of masks.

“Individual practitioners should evaluate their individual office risk factors to determine if this recommendation should be implemented,” ODA’s statement continued.

Health officials across the nation are encouraging social distancing as the best way to keep from spreading coronavirus, which originated in China three months ago. Individuals may not have symptoms — including fever, coughing and shortness of breath — for up to 14 days after exposure, and those who may appear to be asymptomatic could still be carrying the virus. The virus is believed to spread between individuals through close contact and inhalation of infected droplets and/or fluids.

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