Lack of PPE, conflicting guidelines slow reopening of dental clinics


TORONTO — The association representing Ontario’s dentists say a lack of personal protective equipment and conflicting guidelines for COVID-19 practices between dentists and dental hygienists are delaying the reopening of many practices.

A spokesman for the Ontario Dental Association says the resumption of services — permitted by the government in late May — has been slow as dentists struggle to adapt their practices to address the pandemic.

Dr. David Stevenson says conflicting guidelines for the resumption of practice from the colleges that regulate dentists and dental hygienists are adding confusion to the reopening.

The guidelines set different standards for COVID-19 screening and personal protective equipment use for dental hygienists and dentists who work in the same offices and with the same patients.

The executive director of the Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association says some of its members are anxious about their return to work because of the conflicting guidelines.

Ontario’s dental regulator said this week it is meeting with the dental hygienists college to consider how the guidelines might be aligned.