[UPDATED February 4, 2021]
The number of new COVID-19 cases has been fluctuating, with new challenges posed by emerging COVID variants. The best way to prepare your office is to stay informed of the news and understand the guidelines provided by your province and governing board.
Some procedures that are similar across boards include the following:
It is strongly recommended that all patients should be screened for coronavirus. Patients should be systematically assessed before they book an appointment and at the time of check-in. Questions that should be asked include:
- Do you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COViD-19?
- Do you have any symptoms that pertain to COVID-19, such as fever, chronic cough, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing?
- Have you had close contact with anyone that has acute respiratory symptoms?
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14-days?
For more details on symptoms to look out for, you can click here.
PPE and Sanitization
Dental health-care personnel should be wearing PPE at all times while they are in a dental setting. This includes wearing a surgical mask, full-face shield, eye protection, gloves and gown. More details can be found here. If surgical masks and full-face shields are unavailable, do no perform the dental procedure. Refer the patient to another clinic that has the correct PPE.
Offices must promptly clean and disinfect the room and equipment after each appointment in accordance with the Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings. Hand washing should also be frequent throughout the day to minimize the risk of contamination.
With the recommended 6-feet distancing between one another, it may be a safer option to ask patients to wait in their car until everything is ready for their appointment. Your patients would also feel more comfortable with this option. You can easily alert them to come in by sending an SMS through My Contact Pro to ensure an efficient process.
Any changes to your check-in procedures can also be quickly communicated through a mass email sent from the Newsletter Module or SMS blast to ensure all patients are on the same page.
This is also a good time to go paperless, as it minimizes the risk of contamination through handling physical documents. The Paradigm module, iForms, will allow new patients to check-in and fill in a virtual document on a tablet, which can be easily sanitized after each use.
To help you gear up for the reopening of your clinic, we have also gathered news articles and guidelines pertaining to different provinces. Please refer to your province for further details.
In the News
The most recent news on the coronavirus and Dental Clinics across Canada:
- NEW! New Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 (February 2, 2021)
- NEW! Saskatchewan dentists eagerly await vaccinations despite delivery delays (February 2, 2021)
- NEW! Nova Scotia dentists seek role in COVID-19 vaccine rollout (February 1, 2021)
- Canadian dentists push for clarity about vaccine priority: ‘We’re doctors too’ (January 24, 2020)
- Manitoba dentists now able to charge clients additional fees to offset PPE costs (June 20, 2020)
- Ontario’s strict rules for reopening dental clinics differ from other provinces (May 28, 2020)
- CP24: Ontario says more health providers can reopen including dentists, optometrists (May 28, 2020)
- Slow return for Canada’s dental offices as pandemic restrictions ease (May 26, 2020)
- B.C. dentists won’t reopen Tuesday, says BCDA (May 14, 2020)
- Dentists gearing up for new normal of wearing full protective gear amid COVID-19 (May 12, 2020)
- Costs of reopening adding up for dentists, could lead to fee increases (May 12, 2020)
- New Brunswick dentists prepare to reopen to patients (May 12, 2020)
- Coronavirus: Alberta dental hygienists, assistants raising alarm over reopening (May 9, 2020)
- Sask. dentists struggle to get N95 masks as clinics reopen (May 5, 2020)
- Gowns, hairnets and no small talk: Sask. dentist says patients can expect big changes (April 29, 2020)
- COVID-19 in Saskatchewan: 5-phase plan to reopen province set to begin May 4 (April 23, 2020)
General COVID-19 Guidelines
These guidelines from the CDC and the Ministry of Health (ON) can be adapted to your practice:
- CDC: Dental Settings (Updated: December 4, 2020)
- Directive #2 for Health Care Providers (May 26, 2020)
- Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings
- COVID-19 Patient Screening Guidance Document (May 2, 2020)
- Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- CDA COVID-19 Update (Mat 15, 2020)
- Federal Economic Response Plan (CDA Roadmap)
- COVID-19 office checklist
- RCDSO: COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (Updated: January 15, 2021)
- COVID-19: Managing Infection Risks During In-Person Dental Care (Updated January 14, 2021)
- COVID-19 Update: State of Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order (January 14, 2021)
- COVID-19 Update – Province-wide shutdown (December 21, 2020)
- COVID-19: Memo from the CMOH re: Aerosol-Generating Dental Procedures (July 8, 2020)
- COVID-19 Update: Stage 2 reopening (June 12, 2020)
- Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak (April 30, 2020)
- RCDSO: COVID-19: Guidance for the Use of Teledentistry
- PSHSA: Health and Safety Guidance During COVID-19 For Physician and Primary Care Provider Employers
- COVID-19 Operational Plan Guide
- Dentists in New Brunswick prepare to reopen clinics under new COVID protocols
Newfoundland and Labrador
- NLDA: Pandemic Plan COVID-19 For Emergency and Urgent Care (April 20,2020)
Northwest Territories & Nunavut
According to the NWT and NU Dental Association, COVID-19 correspondence has been emailed to all members. If you have not received an email please notify email@example.com
Prince Edward Island
- COVID-19 Information – Dental Association of Prince Edward Island (April 29, 2020)
- COVID-19 : Procédures en clinique dentaire en situation de pandémierecommandations intérimaires (FR) (April 8, 2020)
- COVID-19 Pandemic: IPC Interim Protocol Update (April 27, 2020)
- Re-Open Saskatchewan – a plan to re-open the provincial economy
Although this information is geared towards HCP, dentists in Yukon can adopt similar guidelines for their clinics.