The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) recently sent a letter to Casey Hannan, MPH, acting director of the Division of Oral Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the most recent updates to its Guidance for Dental Settings.
The updated guidance includes changes that the AGD and its members consider difficult to obtain and at odds with existing Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, the AGD said.
The most recent update to CDC guidelines substituted the prior wording of “consider the use of N95” with “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 aren’t available, the AGD said.
Face shields are most effective in serving as a barrier for the eyes and also serve as an additional layer for masks, the AGD said.
In its letter, the AGD asked the CDC to return to its less compulsory language in its most recent guidance. The AGD urges amended guidance to allow for alternative personal protective equipment (PPE) combinations based upon the clinical judgment of the professional licensee in their jurisdiction of practice.
“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.