Coronavirus – Updates and information for dental hygienists

April 3, 2020

Updates and information for dental hygienists

CDHA is actively reviewing and assessing relevant information for dental hygienists related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection. Check back for additional information as the situation evolves.

April 3 Update
Volunteers, Emergency Response Benefit update, support for students & more Read more

March 30 Update | FR
More details on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Read more

March 27 Update | FR
Announced Today – New aid for businesses affected by COVID-19 Read more

March 26 Update | FR
Emergency Response Benefit, Legal Considerations video and Research Resources Read more

March 24 Update | FR
New video resource, compensation questions & sharing your stories Read more

March 23 Update | FR
FAQs on Federal Government Supports, Practice Guidelines & more....Read more

March 20 Update | FR
Insurance coverage overview video and employment issues FAQs. Read more

March 19 Update | FR
Insurance coverage position statement and waiver/release form to support member. Read more

March 18 Update | FR
Today's federal aid package and your right to refuse unsafe work conditions Read more.

March 17 Update | FR
More employment questions answered. Read more.

March 16 Update | FR
CDHA has been in discussion with various government departments and stakeholders today. Read more.

March 15 Update | FR
CDHA is answering questions and providing further clarification to yesterdays' email, including links to research referenced. Read more.

March 14 Update | FR
CDHA is taking a balanced approach to addressing needs for support identified by members during this outbreak. Read more.

Recommendations for Dental Hygienists

COVID-19 is impacting the dental profession. As primary oral health care providers, dental hygienists are potentially at risk of contracting the virus. This document will help dental hygienists to mitigate the risk.

Possible transmission routes for COVID-19 in dental clinics

  • Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus is present in saliva
  • Procedures such as ultrasonic scaling and air polishing create aerosols that may be contaminated with the virus.
  • Common transmission routes are direct transmission (inhalation of respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing) and contact transmission (touching surfaces that have been contaminated by droplets or aerosols and then touching one’s face).

Client screening procedure

Screen clients prior to their appointments, both when confirming and in-office:

  • Ask whether they have travelled or been in contact with someone who has travelled outside Canada in the last 21 days. Reschedule the appointment as required.
  • Remind clients that if they have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, they should cancel/reschedule their appointments and see a medical professional
  • Ensure hand sanitizer is available at the front desk and encourage its use by all clients upon arrival.

Infection control protocols

  • Aerosol reduction:
    • Have clients rinse with antibacterial mouth rinse prior to treatment
    • Use high-volume suction during aerosol-producing procedures
  • Personal protective equipment:
    • Safety glasses
    • Gloves
    • Masks: minimum one mask per client***(see risk assessment guidelines below)
    • Gowns
    • Face shield when performing aerosol-producing tasks
  • Risk assessment guidelines for mask usage (to address mask shortage):
    • Level 1 mask: use when minimal fluids, spatter or aerosols are produced, e.g., intraoral exams, taking impressions, taking radiographs, sanitizing the operatory. Can also be used in conjunction with a full-face shield when scaling with an ultrasonic and air polishing
    • Level 2 mask: use when moderate fluids, spatter or aerosols will be produced, e.g., scaling and root planing with hand instruments. Can also be used in conjunction with a full-face shield when scaling with an ultrasonic and air polishing.
    • Level 3 mask: use when moderate to heavy fluids, spatter or aerosols will be produced, e.g., ultrasonic scaling and air polishing

Follow standard infection prevention and control protocols for sanitizing the operatory. In addition, disinfect public areas in the dental office regularly throughout the day. This includes door handles, counters, desks, tables, and chairs.

***The layering of lower level masks for added protection is not recommended by public health experts.

Outbreak update
Refer to the Government of Canada for the latest on the current situation and the risk to Canadians.

Guidance for health professionals
Refer to the Government of Canada’s updates on what health professionals need to know about coronaviruses, the spectrum of illness, transmission, detection and reporting, infection prevention and control, and treatment. Health professionals in Canada have a critical role to play in identifying, reporting and managing potential cases of novel coronavirus infection.

World Health Organization – Coronavirus

Provincial or territorial resources

Additional information about the evolving situation may be found on your province’s or territory’s government website.

Contacting the manufacturers for the equipment used in your practice may also provide product advice that may assist.

Key articles

CDHA will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Contact CDHA Dental Hygiene Practice:

CDHA will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Contact CDHA Dental Hygiene Practice: