Late in the day on Friday, March 27, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) posted a new recommendation for dentists to “temporarily postpone nonessential treatment until April 17 or until such time that the COVID-19 crisis has ceased.”
The new directive by KDHE provides guidance regarding dental office procedures, infection control, and qualifying emergency procedures. See the entire KDHE recommendation below.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during these unprecedented times. For questions related to this guidance, please contact KDHE Bureau of Oral Health Director, Dr. Dayna Brinckman, at email@example.com
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has also created a special website (kdheks.gov/coronavirus
) and hotline (866-534-3463) to address concerns and answers questions about COVID-19.
KDHE Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Update
March 27, 2020
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is responding to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state. While investigations to learn more about the virus are ongoing, workers and employers should review their health and safety procedures to help prevent exposure to the virus.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Oral Health, recommends all dentists to implement a plan to temporarily postpone all non-essential procedures.
For this situation, “non-essential procedure” means a dental procedure that is not an emergency or trauma-related procedures where postponement would significantly impact the health, safety, and welfare of the patient as determine by a licensed dental professional.
At a minimum: any cosmetic or aesthetic procedures (such as veneers, teeth bleaching, or cosmetic bonding); any routine hygiene appointments; any orthodontic procedures that do not relieve pain or infection, do not restore oral function, or are not trauma-related; initiation of any crowns, bridges, or dentures that do not relieve pain or infection, do not restore oral function, or are not trauma-related; any periodontal plastic surgery; any extractions of asymptomatic non-carious teeth; and any recall visits for periodontally healthy patients.
If a covered facility that performs dental procedures chooses to remain open, its plan must exclude from postponement, emergency or trauma-related procedures where postponement would significantly impact the health, safety, and welfare of the patient.
Dentists should proceed with treatment if the patient is in pain, if infection is present, or if non-treatment will severely inhibit normal function of a patient’s teeth and mouth or negatively impact their health in the next three to six months. Patients who have received recent treatment requiring the removal of sutures would also be considered appropriate for treatment.
All other treatments should be delayed until April 17, 2020 or until the COVID-19 crisis has ceased.
Treatment of Emergency Cases
- Refer to What Constitutes A Dental Emergency in the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center.
- Follow CDC guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings
- Use rubber dams and high-volume saliva ejectors.
- Use surgical masks, face shields, goggles, gloves and gowns when working with high or low speed handpiece
- As a prophylactic measure, have your patient rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide prior to procedure, per guidance from the American Dental Association.
Consider the following additional measures:
- Use phone triage for all upcoming emergent appointments.
- If patient is symptomatic with symptoms consistent with COVID19, which includes measured fever of 100 or more and lower respiratory symptoms including cough or shortness of breath, refer them to their medical provider – persons reporting symptoms should not walk into providers without first calling their office.
- Have a scripted questionnaire for your staff before scheduling appointments and prior to any procedure.
- Establish a precheck triage to measure and record temperature of every staff and patient.
- Take measures to prevent over-crowding in the waiting areas.
- Stagger appointment times to reduce waiting room exposure.
- Limit access to waiting room use to patients and guardian/caregiver only.
- Remove all magazines/toys/books from the waiting room.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often each day, including waiting areas, door handles, chairs and bathrooms.
Businesses and organizations are urged to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) by contacting your county emergency managers. This is an unprecedented public health disaster, and stocks of personal protective equipment for health care providers are being used rapidly.
Any organizations that have extra PPE supplies that aren't immediately needed should consider donating them to help those on the front line of this disease. Any type of health care PPE will be welcomed, especially gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks. Local emergency management officials will work to address needs locally and beyond.