This morning the Maine Board of Dental Practice voted (7 in favor; 1 abstention) to issue updated guidance that reinforces the Department of Health and Human Services' May 12th announcement which reads:
"On May 12, the Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that CDC is in the process of updating its April 27 guidance on dental services which recommends postponing non-urgent dental care. Once issued, Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will rely upon it along with relevant guidance from the American
Dental Association (ADA) and Maine Dental Association (MDA). Until that point, dental providers continue to be encouraged to safely provide urgent care. If CDC recommendations are not issued by May 18, DHHS will rely upon the ADA and MDA guidance."
The DHHS COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Providers can be found
Q: Can we re-open to routine dentistry on Monday, May 18th?
A: If updated CDC recommendations are not issued by May 18th, the DHHS will defer to the ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit and the MDA Guidance Establishing Safe Dental Care in the Era of COVID-19.
The ADA Return To Work Toolkit is available
Please note this is VOLUNTARY! You do not have to re-open your practice to routine dentistry if you are not ready. If you choose not to open to routine dentistry, the Maine Board of Dental Practice has reaffirmed that you should continue to see patients with emergency needs.
In order to help members as they prepare to resume routine dentistry, the MDA is hosting a FREE webinar for members on Tuesday, May 19th at 6:00 PM to review return to work guidance. Please register here.
Important Note about PPE:
Many members are also inquiring about PPE. At this time, the emergency management stockpile supplies of PPE are going to hospitals, first responders and long term care facilities. This may change over time as the supply chain improves, but the Governor's administration has been very clear that private practices must source our own PPE in order to open. See below:
"It is each organization's responsibility to make changes, including the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), for voluntary reopening. The process currently in place for health care facilities in Maine to request PPE from the State cache is intended to provide supplies during times of emergencies to protect public health and safety. The State cache is not an appropriate source of PPE for reopening of health care services or private industry under the Governor's Plan. The Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership has compiled a list of Maine companies producing medical equipment supplies and face coverings, which the Administration is sharing with Maine people as a resource. If private health care organizations cannot secure sufficient PPE to reopen services safely within the guidance offered by the U.S. CDC, U.S. CMS, OSHA, and professional associations, then they may not reopen."
Please do not contact government agencies and ask them to go against this very clear guidance from the governor's office.
If you cannot source your own PPE, then we recommend strongly that you not reopen.
As I have recommended many times in my previous correspondence, please read the CDC, ADA and MDA guidance. Almost all of the questions that we get on a daily basis can be answered simply by reading the guidance and following applicable links. For example, we have had numerous questions about N95s. If you read the CDC recommendations about N95 conservation strategies
) you will find answers such as "What if I can't find any N95 respirators?" and "Can I reuse my respirators?" and "What is a fit test and when do I need it?"
Please, I urge you to read the recommendations, and then read them again. Become experts. Train your staff; share the guidance with them.
While the responsibility is of the private practice owner to source needed PPE, the MDA is in the process of purchasing masks with a very generous donation from the Charitable Foundation. We have had to change distributors to ensure the masks we obtain are on the FDA approved list so there will be a delay in receiving those supplies.
We have also received an offer for a generous donation of 750 face shields and anticipate those in the next week or two. We will establish drop points throughout Maine for PPE - so please stay tuned.
The MDA also has a PPE Vendor list on our website here.
DHHS also has a vendor list here.
Thank you for your continued support and for being prepared to re-open safely and treat your patients!
Yours in service,