Updated 5 May 2020
As the world experiments with a return to business-as-usual, many dental practices are preparing for the more stringent safety measures necessary to protect against Covid-19. You may be asking: Which masks should be worn by dental healthcare professionals in the time of Covid-19? For the most updated information, refer to your local health department, The Centers for Disease Control, or The American Dental Association. In the meantime, here are a few recommendations from San Diego Medical Waste.
An N95 respirator or respirator that offers higher levels of protection should be worn before entering a patient's room or care area and during aerosol-generating procedures. If a respirator is not available, use a combination of a surgical mask and full-face shield. Be sure masks are FDA approved.
Generally, surgical masks are preferred over cloth face masks. Surgical masks offer both a source of control and protection for the person wearing it against splashes and sprays of infectious material. If available, these are preferred when respirators are not required.
If more than source control is required, a cloth face covering should not be worn in place of a respirator or face mask.
Clerical personnel or dental health care professionals whose job duties do not require personal protective equipment (PPE) may continue to wear cloth masks as a source of control while in the dental setting.
Dentists, hygienists, dental assistants, and other dental health care professionals may wear cloth masks when not engaged in direct patient care activities. When PPE is required, switch to a respirator or surgical mask.
When leaving the dental facility, remove the respirator or surgical mask and use a cloth face covering.
For more information about PPE and proper medical waste disposal, contact San Diego Medical Waste Services, LLC, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-990-4604.