Ontario dentistry regulator issues COVID-19 practice guidelines

DENTISTRY

The body that regulates dentistry in Ontario has released new guidelines for treating patients in-person that include extra precautions as the spread of COVID-19 continues to slow.

The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario says the profession is currently in Stage 2 of its three-phase reopening plan.

Dentists had previously only been allowed to practice emergency or urgent care on patients in-person, but can now offer other essential services with enhanced precautions.

The college says non-essential care must continue to be provided through teledentistry.

The guidelines say it's particularly difficult to protect against COVID-19 in dentistry, because many procedures generate droplets and aerosols - airborne particles composed of debris and microorganisms propelled by the use of rotary handpieces, ultrasonic devices and air-water syringes.

The college says dentists must use N95 respirators, gloves, eye protection, face shields and protective gowns when performing procedures that generate aerosols.