COVID-19: Revised Guidance
In late June, the College, in partnership with Ontario’s three other oral health regulatory Colleges (representing dental hygienists, dental technologists and denturists), updated its COVID-19 guidance.
At that time, we committed to reviewing key requirements for aerosol-mitigation, including fallow time and enclosed operatories, by consulting with a panel of subject matter experts. The consultation ran from June 27th to July 8th and included representatives from the oral health professions and Ontario’s faculties of dentistry, regulation experts as well as infectious disease experts.
This has continued to be a joint effort with all the oral health regulatory Colleges so that there is consistent guidance across the professions.
Staff assessed the feedback to produce updated COVID-19 guidance for in-person care.
Key changes include:
- Fallow time is no longer recommended or required following aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) for any patient.
- Enclosed operatories are no longer recommended or required for patients who have screened or tested negative for COVID-19.
These changes reflect efforts to ensure precautions are evidence-based and do not impede access to care. We also considered the evolution of the pandemic, changes in public health restrictions, improved vaccination rates, as well the as experiences of jurisdictions who did not have these requirements.
Jurisdictions that do not require fallow time and enclosed operatories for patients who have screened or tested negative for COVID-19 do not appear to have an increased incidence of transmission associated with dental care.
At this time, we are retaining the following provisions:
- Enclosed operatories for AGPs involving patients who have screened or tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maintaining existing requirements for the use of personal protective equipment.
We recommend that dentists maintain capacity for enclosed operatories even if they are not providing care to COVID-19 positive patients.
Notably, the guidance sets out the minimum standard. Oral health care professionals can exceed the guidance, if they wish.
The RCDSO will continue to monitor hospitalization rates, ICU admissions and public health directions as the pandemic landscape shifts. Dentists should continue to exercise professional judgement based on point of care risk assessments, even if precautions exceed those outlined in our revised guidance.