• Melo Acuna

DILG to dentists: Wear PPEs.

DILG calls on LGUs to require dentists to wear PPEs, adhere to health standards in their clinics

MANILA – Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año called on local government units to strictly require dentists to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and see to it their clinics adhere to all health and safety standards.

In a statement, Secretary Año said dentists and patients need to follow health protocols for their safety. He said it is inevitable for dentists and patients to observe physical distancing. Dentists, he said are exposed to their patients nose and mouth thereby exposing them to risks of infection.

In an Advisory sent to provincial governments, city and municipal mayors, Secretary Año said dentists need to be reminded with the interim guidelines on infection prevention from the Philippine Dental Association (PDA).

DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said the PDA set the safety standards from patient screening, preparation of dental facility, and standard layers of defense against COVID-19 which include waste management of hazardous wastes.

It will be recalled PDA recommends a two-phase triage, where dental clinics must screen cases over the phone to know the urgency of care, check on patient’s current residence, possible contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients. Patients need to be informed of treatment options and infection control protocols in the clinic.

The second phase, during the appointment, a questionnaire/checklist for possible symptoms and contact exposure will be filled out by the patient who will sign informed consent on treatment and waiver forms. A scheduled appointment is advised except for emergencies. Scheduling of patients apart would give enough time for the disinfection of work areas.

Before the face-to-face consultation, PDA advised dentists to conduct a regular inventory of their PPE supplies and schedule patients according to the dentist’s PPEs’ availability. Clinics are required to print reminders for patients to wear masks and other minimum health requirements.

The Philippine Dental Association recommended that dental clinics often renew indoor air by opening windows or utilizing mechanical ventilation to allow air exchange. (Melo M. Acuña)

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año (left) with Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. (DILG Photo)

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