The dental industry is turning a corner and now has ample supplies of some personal protective equipment (PPE) including surgical masks, respirators, and disposable gowns, according to the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP). In fact, OSAP said, its distributor members have removed allocation limits for these items.
“As dental professionals continue to navigate the pandemic, it is a relief to know that practitioners and staff are no longer likely to be faced with limiting patient care because of a shortage of masks and gowns,” said Michelle Lee, OSAP executive director. “This latest development means PPE optimization is no longer necessary, including the reuse of single-use surgical masks, respirators, and disposable gowns.”
Dentistry has experienced shortages of these critical PPE items in addition to gloves and surface disinfectant spray and wipes, OSAP said.
While the shortage of surgical masks, N95 respirators, and gowns has abated, there remains a limited supply of disinfectant spray and wipes primarily due to the combination of high demand and limited supply chain resources such as spray bottles, nozzles, and non-woven material and a continuing global shortage of Nitrile, which has impacted the availability of Nitrile gloves and stressed the supply chain, OSAP said.
Fred Freedman, vice president of the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA), said that “the DTA remains in constant contact with its manufacturer and distribution members and thus we have established a PPE/Medical Device Supply Chain Working Group. Unfortunately, the demand for gloves and other products has at times exceeded the capacity of their manufacturing capabilities and the supply of raw materials.
OSAP and DTA recognize the importance of these critical PPE products to the continued safety of the practice, the staff, and the patients and continue to monitor on a regular basis, communicating with each other and the industry to ensure that factual information is communicated and that every dental visit ensures the safety of patients and practitioners, the organizations said.