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Dental Practices in Some States Begin to Reopen for Elective Procedures

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More than 15 states have begun to allow dental practices to reopen for elective procedures, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia. More than half are located in the Southern US, and a few, such as Alaska, are sparsely populated. The above map includes information on dental practice reopening by state. While it may be legal to open dental practices in some states, this does not mean that all dental practices will choose to open.

The dental practice openings are, for the most part, dependent on adherence to additional guidelines. For instance, in Kentucky, oral health professionals are required to wear plastic face shields in addition to N95 masks, and patients must be screened at the door for COVID-19 symptoms and seated immediately in an operatory, eliminating waiting rooms. In Louisiana, dental practices must have a 5-day supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) on hand. With the supply chain for PPE still struggling to meet demand, some of these requirements may be difficult to follow at this time. The American Dental Association has released a “Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit” to help dental practices prepare for safe reopening. Click here to access it.

Please note that this information is very fluid. All oral health professionals should check with their state dental boards to determine their states’ rules and regulations for reopening of dental practices for non-emergency care.

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