Following a period of careful review and in response to the provincial shutdown, the College’s COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care guidance document has been updated.
The College’s updated guidance is largely in-keeping with past versions, however, in response to the provincial shutdown, dentists are required to undertake enhanced precautions when providing in-person care, consistent with requirements for dentists practising in public health regions designated “grey” or “lockdown”.
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.
Supporting the Stay-at-Home Order
The state of emergency and stay-at-home order do not alter the scope of care that dentists are permitted to provide, which continues to include the in-person provision of emergency, urgent, and non-essential care (see the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directive #2 and the College’s COVID-19 FAQ).
Dentists are in a position to support the Provincial stay-at-home order and are advised to exercise professional judgment when deciding how to triage and manage patient care in order to support reduced mobility within the community.
The following principles form the foundation for this guidance:
- Dentists have a professional, legal, and ethical responsibility to provide care in a manner that is both safe and effective.
- The health and safety of patients, the public, and practitioners is the top priority. All protocols for treatment and support will put safety first.
- The College’s guidance to dentists is informed by the direction provided by the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Minister of Health, and others.
- Patients need continuity of care. Patients of record must have access to their dentist for guidance, support, and referral, where needed.
- Patient access to oral healthcare must be balanced with the risks of spreading COVID-19.
- Guidance is based on the best available evidence and data. In the absence of clear evidence, guidance will prioritize caution and safety.
- Return to practice will occur in well-defined stages that balance a return to the “new normal’ with the risks of spreading COVID-19.
- The College will prioritize the use of teledentistry to assess risk and appropriately triage patient needs.