The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recently sent a letter to Casey Hannan, MPH, acting director of the Division of Oral Health at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address its most recent updates to the Guidance for Dental Settings. The updated guidance includes changes that the AGD and its members consider difficult to attain and at odds with existing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.
The most recent update to CDC guidelines substituted prior wording of “consider the use of N95” and strengthened it to “should use an N95” during aerosol generating procedures. Previous CDC guidelines allowed for the flexibility and use of a face shield and other masks that provided the highest-level of protection when N95 masks are not available. Face shields are most effective in serving as a barrier for the eyes and also serves as an additional layer for the masks.
“The problem with the change in the guidelines is that AGD members, and the dental community at large, continue to experience PPE vendor supply shortages with the inability to procure N95 masks,” said AGD President Connie White, DDS, FAGD.
In the letter, the AGD is requesting that the CDC return to its less compulsory language in its most recent guidance. The AGD urges amended guidance to allow for alternative personal alternative protective equipment (PPE) combinations based upon the clinical judgement of the professional licensee in their jurisdiction of practice.