Earlier this month, California dimmed the lights once again on business operations but held off on ordering dental offices to shut down.

Gov. Gavin Newsom took additional steps on July 13 to slow the spread of the COVID-19 by closing indoor business across the state. The restriction does not touch essential health services such as dental care.

Dental offices can continue to operate safely by following the guidance of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

CDPH recommends that dental offices equip their facilities with two weeks supplies of Personal Protective Equipment. Also, dental offices should follow CDA’s resource center, which includes training, checklists and other tools to help keep dental professionals and their patients safe during this uncertain time.

In early April, CDPH released guidance that directed dentists to suspend dental care if it did not rise to the level of serious urgency. The protocol of restricting dental care only for emergency procedures aligned with recommendations outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several weeks earlier, California issued a statewide stay-at-home order. Calls by the California Dental Association for the state to also suspend non-urgent dental care followed shortly thereafter. The association strongly recommended these measures to slow the spread and protect workers and patients from COVID-19.

Under the April directive, dentists were urged to hold off on routine procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent visit. Dental offices also asked their patients to call ahead for guidance and dentists proceeded a case-by-case basis. Deferred and preventive care resumed in mid-May.

In early June, CDPH offered official guidance to dentists as they returned to their practices. The roadmap, compiled from information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state officials, explained the steps required to resume dental care during the pandemic.

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