Royal College of
Dental Surgeons of Ontario
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Information on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

In accordance with our mandate to act in the public’s interest and in hearing the numerous comments made to us by members, in consultation with hospitals and public health and others, we are offering to the membership measures and guidelines in response to the COVID–19 pandemic. 

The RCDSO’s guidance, COVID-19: Managing infection risks during in-person dental care, will assist dentists in preparing their offices and understanding how to safely provide in-person care. In keeping with the most recent direction from government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, dentists can provide in-person care for all deferred, non-essential, and elective services, in addition to emergency and urgent care.

New Regional Restrictions

Ontario is currently experiencing a surge in the community transmission of COVID-19. In response to this “second wave”, the Provincial Government has announced strict new public health measures that target areas of the province that are most affected. Referred to in the media as “hot spots” or “hot zones”, these areas currently include Toronto, Ottawa, York Region and Peel Region. 

Implications for Dentistry

The Provincial announcement does not alter the scope of care that dentists are permitted to provide, which continues to include in-person care for non-essential and elective services in addition to emergency and urgent care.

However, dentists practising in communities that are experiencing a high rate of community transmission and/or a high local incidence of infection face a number of increased risks, including the risk of providing care to a patient who is infectious but asymptomatic. Because asymptomatic patients may screen negative for COVID-19 despite being infectious, they increase the risk that COVID-19 could be transmitted in a dental practice.

To help mitigate this risk, the College is providing proactive recommendations for dentists who are practising in the higher risk areas identified by the Provincial Government.

How Should I Adjust my Practice?

All dentists practising in Ontario must continue to follow the guidance set out in the College’s COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care document.

However, if you are practicing in a higher risk area as identified by the Provincial Government, the College strongly recommends that you take the following additional steps:

  1. Avoid performing aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) whenever possible.
  2. Where AGPs must be performed, adhere to the enhanced precautions for performing AGPs that apply to patients who have screened or tested positive for COVID-19, even if the patient has screened or tested negative.
The applicable precautions are set out in the following sections of the College’s COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care document:
  1. Using an oral rinse - Paragraph 50
  2. Intra-oral radiographs - Paragraph 51
  3. Preparing the operatory for AGPs - Paragraphs 53 – 54
  4. Fallow periods following AGPs - Paragraphs 60 - 63
Dentists practicing outside of areas experiencing increased community transmission are reminded that they always have the option of proactively applying the stricter measures set out above in keeping with their professional judgment.

How Do I Find Information About COVID-19 in my Local Practice Area?

The College is not a source of epidemiologic data. We continue to reach out to and collaborate with our system partners to identify resources and equip dentists to understand their local circumstances.

For more information about interpreting local epidemiology, see Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) Considerations for Community-Based Health Care Workers on Interpreting Local Epidemiology.

In this document, PHO identifies several resources to assist healthcare workers, including:
Additionally, dentists may wish to consult the following information from Ministry of Health:

How Long Will This Recommendation Remain in Effect?

The College will continue to monitor and update this guidance as necessary, including in response to additional guidance or announcements from the Provincial Government and changing rates of community transmission of COVID-19. In the meantime, the College continues to seek advice from our colleagues at the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario to support improved regional guidance for the provision of care.

COVID-19 RCDSO Updates

October 2020

September 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

COVID-19 Health Care Provider Recruitment 

The Ontario Ministry of Health is looking for part-time or retired health care workers to assist with the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the Ministry is seeking:

  • Current and former members of Ontario’s regulated health professions and the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers;
  • Physician assistants; and
  • Personal support workers.

For more information, click here.

Ontario has also launched a website to act as a central point for businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the province's response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Updates from the Ministry of Health / Public Health

Ontario’s Ministry of Health regularly releases new guidance on COVID-19. Access regular Ministry updates by clicking here.

Health care providers facing immediate challenges (less than 10 days of supply) with their personal protective equipment supply levels can email the ministry: EOCLogistics.MOH@ontario.ca.

The Ontario Government has developed an online workplace PPE supplier directory, which can be found here.  

The Ministry reports daily to the College on this issue.

The Minister of Health released a statement regarding elective surgeries. 

COVID-19 Sample screening

Refer to our latest guidance for more information.

The Ministry recommends that you:

  1. Screen patients over the phone before scheduling appointments
  2. Post signs in your reception area asking patients with symptoms to identify themselves. 

The Ministry of Health has set up a Health Care Provider Hotline at 1-866-212-2272. Contact practiceadvisory@rcdso.org if you have additional questions.