February 6, 2023

To ensure that dental health professionals and their patients are not exposed to the risk of contracting the Covid-19, the Department of the Interior and Local Government enjoined local government units to see to it that dentists within their jurisdiction wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and that their clinics follow the health and safety standards prescribed by the Department of Health.
“The nature of dental operation requires close distance between a dentist and a patient. Kaya lalong dapat magsuot ng PPE ang mga dentist para sa kanilang kaligtasan at ng kanilang mga pasyente,” Sec. Eduardo M. Año said.
Año said the dynamics of the dental treatments and services and the inevitability of close exposure to the nose and the mouth expose dentists to high risk of infection.
In an advisory issued to LGUs, Año said governors and mayors must require oral health professionals to comply with the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) interim guidelines on infection prevention during the Covid-19 pandemic which guides dentists in their operations in the new normal.
“Amid our country’s efforts against the spread of the Covid-19, we cannot ignore other serious concerns that need to be addressed, including dental health. The DILG recognizes that oral health is just as important and is part of overall health,” he said.
DILG spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya said the PDA guidelines provide the precautionary steps that dental clinics should take, such as patient screening, preparation of dental facility team, and standard layers of defense against the Covid-19, which includes management of hazardous wastes.
“As the economy and establishments open up, the DILG counts on the LGUs to properly regulate the dental health sector in their localities in line with their duty to promote health and safety. Mahalaga ang oral health sa kabuuang kalusugan ng mamamayan,” said Malaya.
For patient appointments, the PDA recommends doing a two-phase triage. First, dental clinics must screen cases over the phone to determine the urgency of care, to find out the area of current residence, and possible contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients. Patients should be informed of treatment options and infection control protocols in the clinic.
During the appointment, a checklist for possible symptoms and contact exposure will be filled out by a patient who will sign informed consent on treatment options and waiver forms.
A scheduled appointment is advised except for emergencies. Prior to a face-to-face consultation, PDA advises dentists to conduct an inventory of their PPE supplies and only schedule an appointment with patients according to availability of PPE.
Clinics should have printed reminders for patients to wear masks, avoid touching the face, do hand sanitization, observe cough etiquette, and maintain physical distancing. – DILG release