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COVID-19: Canadian Dental Association says situation is changing rapidly

By Jeremy Booth, DTI
March 21, 2020

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in dental practices across Canada being told to delay elective and preventive treatments, and the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) has told Dental Tribune International that the situation remains fluid. While some dental practices remain open, the CDA says that this could change at any moment, based on, but not limited to, the directives and recommendations that are being issued by provincial dental regulatory authorities.

Amid the evolving public health crisis, Canada’s 13 dental regulatory authorities have continued to provide updates and guidance to dental practitioners in their jurisdictions. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO), which regulates the practice of dentistry in the country’s most populous province, has strongly recommended that dental clinics treat emergency cases but suspend all nonessential and elective dental services until further notice. The RCDSO has issued guidance on classifying true emergency situations, and the province’s health ministry has recommended that patients be screened during a telephone conversation before appointments are scheduled and that signs be posted in reception areas asking patients with symptoms to identify themselves.

The Ordre des dentistes du Québec (ODQ), the provincial dental authority for Canada’s second-most populous province, told dental practitioners that all appointments for elective and preventive dental treatments must be postponed to a later date. This guidance currently applies for the 14-day period beginning on March 16. Dental practices should evaluate by phone the best manner to deliver safe treatment to patients suffering acute pain or trauma and requiring emergency treatment, the ODQ stated. Addressing the dental authority’s members in an online bulletin, ODQ President Dr. Guy Lafrance said: “I am counting on you to follow this guideline and I thank you for your efforts and cooperation in helping us eradicate this pandemic.”

Speaking to Dental Tribune International about the evolving containment measures, a CDA spokesperson said that dental practitioners should “note that there are variations in the timing of these measures being rolled out across the country to dental offices. Some dental offices may have started to implement such recommendations for patient care delivery, while other dental offices may soon receive notices.”

The health and safety of patients, families and the entire dental community is a top priority for the CDA,” the spokesperson continued, adding that the association is committed to continuing to be proactive in its efforts to combat the spread of the virus and that it will continue to follow the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

By March 19, there had been 569 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and eight deaths from the virus.

A list of links to the country’s 13 provincial dental authorities can be found here.

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