How Dental Care Professionals and Patients Can Protect Themselves From Evolving Health Risks

Dental care services have an increased risk of illness transmission given the close contact of these services, potentially prolonged time spent in an enclosed space, and the use of instruments that may spread droplets of saliva or blood.

To safely engage in the dental industry, professionals and their patients must take ongoing precautions to protect their health and limit the spread of viruses like COVID-19.

Defending Against Health Risks At A Dentist’s Office

Dental care providers are often fully booked each day and service a high number of customers, many of which may need to wait in a common area before being seen. In addition, dental settings have many high-touch surfaces, making it essential to clean and disinfect all surfaces throughout the day.

Given the high risk of potentially spreading illness at a dentist’s office, dental care workers and their customers face many challenging questions about how to protect their health:

  • What steps can dental professionals and customers take to minimize the risk of disease transmission?

  • What health and safety measures will address new virus variants?

  • How can you safely navigate high-traffic areas or enclosed spaces throughout the dental facility?

With these questions in mind, AIHA has created this “Healthier Workplaces: Guidance for Dentist’s Offices and Facilities, 2nd edition” guide to offer practical advice for dental professionals and customers to reduce the risk of transmitting illnesses like COVID-19. The guidance borrows from the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expert advice from leading health and government organizations.

These guidelines share actionable steps to protect dental facility workers and their customers, including information on the following areas:

What owners or workers can do to minimize the spread of illness at a dentist’s office or dental facility:

  • Personal hygiene best practices and how often to wash your hands when using shared equipment

  • Recommended communication and training to keep employees aware of the latest safety strategies

  • Ventilation considerations for waiting rooms and dental treatment rooms

  • Advanced disinfection protocols for dental equipment and high-touch surfaces

What patients can do to reduce risk to themself:

  • Self-monitoring practices and how to know if you should reschedule a dental appointment

  • Recommended PPE when visiting a dentist’s office

  • What to do if you need to cough or sneeze when receiving dental care

Download our “Healthier Workplaces: Guidance for Dentist’s Offices and Facilities, 2nd edition” guidance document today to learn how to provide or receive dental care services safely.

Additional Dental Facility Health Resources

We recommend exploring the following resources and networks to access more help and resources to understand and avoid health risks in dental environments.