dentist C19 051320Aurora, Ill. – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) is pleased to learn the Illinois Department of Public Health has updated its guidance on allowing dental providers to resume routine oral and dental care beginning this week.

“IDPH’s decision lifts the limit to emergency and urgent needs to now let dentists resume routine oral and dental care, with the specific procedures to be taken to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in this setting,” Holmes said. “Area dentists contacted me about this issue and I’m glad we made this progress.”

IDPH says to yield good procedural outcomes, oral health providers should consider their patient's health care needs, assess the risks and benefits of any procedures, and appropriately screen patients for COVID-19. Patients will need to be symptom free and have their temperature taken. Dentists will need to address their use of masks, face guards, and suction devices.

“This move is progress, but it presents a dilemma: dentists can go back to work as long as they follow all of IDPH’s guidelines; however they still face the challenge of sourcing appropriate PPE,” Holmes said. “This may be more of an issue in the higher population areas that have had more cases of the virus and greater PPE need, but it will be on the dentists to get those materials.”

Dentists gave up their PPE in the early days of the pandemic for hospitals, first responders and nursing homes. Now they have difficulty getting what they need to resume dental care. Holmes said she would be working to help get more access to those supplies.

“Patients have been waiting to get back to their dentists and, even though now we have the green light from the IDPH, we are in need of PPE to meet their guidelines,” said Dave Marsh, Director of Governmental Affairs with the Illinois State Dental Society. “Of course we recognize the highest priorities for PPE in health care settings, but we will be seeking a higher priority for masks and face shields for our profession.”

More details from IDPH are here.