CDC Releases Interim Reopening Guidance for Dental Settings

Updated August 4, 2020

CDC has updated the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response with additional guidance and clarification for dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates include additional guidance on physical distancing and how to respond to SARS-CoV-2 exposures among dental healthcare personnel and patients, aligning the updated guidance with CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthcare settings regarding fever, and recommended PPE during patient encounters, including aerosol generating procedures.

The guidelines have also been reorganized into two sections: recommended infection prevention and control practices for routine dental healthcare delivery, and recommended practices when providing dental healthcare for a patient with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As dental healthcare facilities begin to restart elective procedures in accordance with guidance from local and state officials, there are precautions that should remain in place as a part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dental healthcare personnel should apply the updated interim guidance as well as the guidance found in the Framework for Healthcare Systems Providing Non-COVID-19 Clinical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic as they make determinations for how and when to resume non-emergency dental care.

Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel. Dental healthcare personnel should stay informed and regularly consult with the state or local health department for region-specific information and recommendations, and should monitor trends in local case counts and deaths, especially for populations at higher risk for severe illness. As a reminder, dental healthcare personnel are licensed by their state regulatory body and should practice according to their state dental practice acts or other relevant regulations.

Interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of COVID-19. You can find the most up-to-date information about infection prevention and control practices on CDC’s COVID-19 page. CDC will update this guidance as additional information becomes available.

On June 3, 2020, CDC hosted a Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) call to discuss how the updated guidance addresses the unique characteristics of dental settings warrant specific infection control considerations. The recording is available for viewing on the COCA Call webpage.

The COCA network provides timely, accurate, and credible information to clinicians and other healthcare professionals related to emergency preparedness and response and emerging public health threats.