Letter Updated March 23, 2020
Last week, on March 16, 2020, I communicated to you the position statement from the CSDA Board of Governors recommending that members consider postponing elective and routine dental care in their offices for two weeks. As we have witnessed repeatedly the situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be rapidly evolving at the state, federal, and global level. This past week was no exception. Since releasing our position statement, CSDA staff and leadership have heard from many of you that the CSDA recommendation to consider postponing elective procedures needed to be stronger. In addition, Governor Ned Lamont recently issued his “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order that identified dental practices as essential businesses. We’ve seen neighboring state dental associations and some state Dental Boards issuing new and updated guidance documents. All of these activities have raised numerous questions from dentists around the state regarding the true intent of the CSDA’s position statement, and how being designated as an “essential business” in the Governor’s Executive Order impacts the CSDA recommendations. In an effort to provide absolute clarity to our members regarding appropriate dental care during this public health crisis, the CSDA Board of met earlier today and unanimously approved the following resolution:
Resolved, that the CSDA Board of Governors strongly urges that Connecticut dentists cancel all elective procedures, and only provide emergency/urgent care as defined by the American Dental Association; be it further
Resolved, that in support of Governor Lamont’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order effective 8:00 p.m. March 23, 2020, we are extending this strong recommendation to April 22, 2020, unless modified, extended or terminated by the Governor; be it further
Resolved, that not complying with these recommendations may be considered a violation of the ADA’s Principles of Ethics & Code of Professional Conduct.
To be clear, although dentistry is on the list of “essential businesses” in the Governor’s Stay Safe, Stay Home executive order, the intent of the CSDA is for all dentists to follow these recommendations and cancel elective and routine care including hygiene, and only treat urgent/emergent dental issues. It is imperative that dental practices remain available to care for emergency patients in a timely manner rather than referring them to emergency facilities, so as to keep patients out of already overly burdened emergency rooms and hospitals. We will be sharing these updated recommendations with the Department of Public Health as well, so that they also fully understand the CSDA’s intent.
When deciding whether your patient is experiencing a dental emergency, dentists are encouraged to consult the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Emergency Procedures Guide. The guide includes examples of emergency dental care, urgent dental care, and non-emergency dental procedures. We strongly advise all dentists and dental office personnel to practice utmost caution and be prudent in their selection of emergency cases that need care, and always follow the most current CDC infection control guidelines.
The CSDA will continue to share updates and communications with our members. As we learn more, our recommendations could change as new information is brought forward. Please continue to monitor our website, CSDA.com/coronavirus, ADA.org/virus and CDC.gov, as well as our social media platforms on Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter and Instagram.
To all of you, our valued members, please know that the CSDA is doing all it can to meet your professional needs during this time of great uncertainty. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: there is no playbook for dealing with the many aspects of this crisis. We are all in this together, and if we stay together, we will make it through to the other side.
Thank you to all of you for doing what is right, and what is necessary. I am humbled and honored to be a member of this amazing profession. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or your representative of the Board of Governors if you have any questions, or to share your concerns.
Very truly yours,
Albert Natelli, DDS