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ADA asks Congress to ensure appropriate PPE for all health care workers

Jennifer Garvin
April 14, 2020

Dentists treating emergency procedures need immediate access to proper equipment

Washington — The ADA is calling on Congress to help ensure there is appropriate personal protective equipment available to all health care providers — including dentists — who continue to provide emergency care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an April 13 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the ADA noted that it has recommended that dentists keep their offices closed for all but urgent and emergency procedures until April 30.

The Association reminded lawmakers that dentists continue to treat emergency patients in an effort to keep people out of emergency rooms and to lessen the burden on the country’s medical system. These dentists have told the ADA they have experienced difficulty in obtaining appropriate personal protective equipment, including N95 masks, which has serious implications for the dental team and treatment of patients.

“Safety of the dental team and patients, or people accompanying patients, is essential while treating emergency patients during this COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin. “Due to the close proximity of individuals during dental procedures, and the frequent generation of aerosols necessary for many dental procedures, dentists, staff and patients are at risk of transmission. Additionally, the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Healthcare Settings recommends prioritizing respirators for these aerosol-generating procedures. In order to effectively treat patients both during this time and in the future, our dentists need access to proper PPE, including N-95 masks.”

“As our dentists continue to provide emergency care during this pandemic and look to the future of protecting their patients, we must ensure that dentists are provided immediate access to proper PPE. The availability of appropriate PPE will be critically important to minimize any risk of transmission during dental care,” the letter concluded.

For the latest updates about issues surrounding COVID-19, visit ADA.org/virus.

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