OSAP.org | The Safest Dental Visit
The Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) is a dental association of clinicians, educators, researchers, and industry representatives who advocate for safe and infection-free delivery of oral healthcare. OSAP focuses on strategies to improve compliance with safe practices and on building a strong network of recognized infection control experts. During this challenging time, OSAP is committed to keeping the dental profession informed with the CDC's most up to date guidance. 

We are receiving numerous calls and emails expressing concern and confusion on how to manage a pending face mask shortage. 

We know the dental profession's unwavering commitment to providing the best care concerning infection prevention and compliance. We are seeking your assistance to help OSAP communicate the correct messaging. We ask you to share the information below. 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that: "Surgical facemasks are cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices and should be worn once and then discarded. CDC's recommendation for single-use disposable masks for Dental Health Care Personnel (DHCP) is on page 41 of the Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings - 2003:
  • Wear a surgical mask and eye protection with solid side shields or a face shield to protect mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth during procedures likely to generate splashing or spattering of blood or other body fluids;
  • Change masks between patients, or during patient treatment if the mask becomes wet.
A surgical mask protects against microorganisms generated by the wearer and also protects DHCP from large-particle droplet spatter that might contain bloodborne pathogens or other infectious microorganisms. The mask's outer surface can become contaminated with infectious droplets from spray of oral fluids or from touching the mask with contaminated fingers. When a mask becomes wet from exhaled moist air, the resistance to airflow through the mask increases, causing more airflow to pass around edges of the mask.

CDC recognizes that healthcare facilities may experience temporary shortages even if they do not care for patients with COVID-19. If your facility is concerned about a potential or imminent shortage of PPE, CDC recommends you alert your state/local health department and local healthcare coalition, as they are best positioned to help facilities troubleshoot through temporary shortages. DHCP concerned about healthcare supply for PPE should monitor Healthcare Supply of Personal Protective Equipment for updated guidance, and be familiar with the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations.

If a patient presents with symptoms of a respiratory infection, DHCP may consider postponing non-emergency or elective dental procedures until a patient is no longer contagious with diseases that may be transmitted through airborne, droplet, or contact transmission (e.g., sneezing, coughing, and contact with skin). If urgent dental treatment is necessary, DHCP and medical providers should work together to determine the appropriate precautions on a case-by-case basis to avoid the potential spread of diseases among patients, visitors, and staff. Because dental settings are not typically designed to carry out all of the Transmission-Based Precautions that are recommended for hospital and other ambulatory care settings, DHCP and medical providers will need to determine whether the facility is an appropriate setting for the necessary services for a potentially infectious patient."
We understand this is a unique situation none of us has had to deal with in the past and acknowledge the challenges we face professionally and personally. We will continue to monitor the situation, work with CDC, and communicate with you as we receive updates and/or pertinent information that needs to be shared. We ask you to reach out to us (office@osap.org) with any questions/concerns you and/or your team have and help ensure that the proper messaging is communicated. Together we can make a difference and help each other through these difficult times. 
Our mailing address is:
Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention
3525 Piedmont Road NE
Building 5, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30305

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