As AAO members reopen their practices, the safety of their patients, staff and themselves is top of mind. Many members have indicated that the availability and procedures in place for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are among the most urgent issues facing orthodontic practices in the United States and Canada. Check with your state or local dental and orthodontic associations, as some are offering opportunities for group purchases of PPE or, like the AAO, are providing the names of companies with PPE available.
The COVID-19 Task Force, comprised of a diverse and experienced group of individuals, includes orthodontists, orthodontic educators, members of the AAO Legal Department, and experts in the areas of infection control, infectious diseases, and office design. The group has held several meetings and is working to develop additional resources specific to our AAO members. The Task Force is reviewing all pertinent literature in regard to a variety of topics, including aerosolization in practice and PPE recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, and ADA. It is also conducting an analysis of procedures typically performed in orthodontic offices and steps that can aid in minimizing the chance of virus transmission to our patients, teams, and orthodontists. While final recommendations from the Task Force are forthcoming, some interim suggestions are indicated as orthodontic offices start to reopen.
The AAO is not a legislative body and does not produce regulations that require adherence. These can only come from the regulatory bodies in the United States and Canada. However, the AAO does have a duty to inform, educate and protect members of the public, clinicians and staff during the delivery of orthodontic care. Generally speaking, orthodontists should follow current guidelines as set forth by the CDC, OSHA, and other federal/state regulatory agencies. These can be found at aaoinfo.org/virus. This is by no means a required guidance for AAO members. Orthodontists should use their own professional judgement when deciding how to best implement current guidelines in their offices.