PPE For Dentists
PPE has always been a requirement for dentists but since the Covid-19 pandemic began, PPE for dentists has become more important than ever. What this has meant is that dentists have been expected to follow all guidance from Public Health England. If Dentists choose to not follow the relevant national guidance then any decisions they make should follow a thorough risk assessment while there should also be sound reasoning behind the decision. However, if the spread of infection is linked to attendance, then they will be required to provide the reasoning behind the decision to ignore the national guidance.
Wearing and Removing PPE
All staff should receive the correct training in relation to wearing and removing PPE. This is particularly important to ensure that the right level of Covid-19 infection and prevention controls are implemented. This will help to reduce transmission and will also help to protect staff and patients.
Reducing Transmission During Aerosol Generating Procedures
Due to the nature of the work of Dentists, it’s vital that they use correct PPE in Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP). As the transmission of respiratory viruses increases, they should make sure that the right protective equipment is used.
Requirements for PPE for Dentists
The required PPE should be understood by carrying out a local risk assessment, even in the case of sustained Covid-19 transmission. Dentists can choose to use single or single sessional use filtering face masks while all PPE should be removed and disposed of should it become soiled or damaged. Dentists are recommended to use the following PPE:
- Fluid repellent,long-sleeved disposable gown that covers the arms and body
- Fluid repellent overalls that are disposable
- Filtering Face Piece Class 3 respirator(e. an FFP3 face mask)
- Face shield or visor that covers the entire face
- Disposable medical-grade gloves
FFP Masks – Fit Testing
Fit testing should be carried out in line with HSE guidance prior to being used. This is to ensure that face masks provide the expected level of protection. The fit testing should be carried out by a competent individual while masks should be checked each time they are worn to ensure they deliver a protective seal.
FFP3 Face Masks
FFP3 Face masks are designed to prevent airborne particles from being inhaled during AGPs. There is guidance on the basics of respiratory protective equipment. It’s especially important that the respirator sealing surface is not obstructed by facial hair. Furthermore, the exhalation valve within the sealed mask should also be free of hair. There is a useful government Facial Hair and FFP3 respirator guide that can be followed to ensure that FFP3 respirators are working correctly.
When sourcing and purchasing PPE, it is especially important to ensure that you use a reputable supplier with medical-grade certified products. They should be able to prove how their PPE is suitable by providing an audit trail. Should you choose to switch suppliers, you should do everything possible to make sure that they are trusted and authentic providers. Finally, you might also be asked to provide evidence of face mask testing, PPE training as well as proof that PPE is certified (your PPE supplier can give you the certificates for all products. Find out more about how to tell if the PPE you are buying is genuine.