Staff Protection Strategies

Help protect the entire dental team as you reopen the practice. Consider a soft launch to discuss new strategies and reasons behind them. Practice the new routines with staff prior to welcoming patients. 

Front Desk

  • Front desk staff can wear masks and goggles, or face shields, or offices can install a clear barrier.
  • Consider individual phone headsets for each front desk staffer to reduce virus spread through the phone hand piece.

Hand Hygiene

With strict attention to staff hand hygiene, instruct staff to clean hands thoroughly:

  • Upon entry into the workplace.
  • Before and after any contact with patients.
  • After contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment.
  • After removing PPE

ADA's Hand Hygiene for the Dental Team

Introduction to Hand Hygiene for Healthcare Providers

person washing hands


  • If available, gowns should be considered.
  • If scrubs are worn, change between street clothes and scrubs upon entry and exit, or do the same with other office garb.
    • Provide laundry facilities in the office or contract with a laundry service.
    • Long sleeved garments should be worn.
  • Professional judgement should be exercised with regard to use of disposable foot or head covers.

Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response

Coronavirus Diagnostic Tests

  • There are a large number of gray market tests being marketed, not all with reliable results.

I want to test my patients for COVID-19 when they come to my dental office.  What do I need to do that?

You must register as a dentist-owned laboratory with the New York State Department of Health POLEP (Physician Owned Laboratory Evaluation Program) – but currently there are no POLEP -authorized COVID-19 tests. POLEP registration allows both dentists and physicians to conduct CLIA-waived laboratory tests in their offices on their own patients where such tests are deemed necessary or useful to providing services to patients. CLIA-waived tests are those tests that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) consider simple and reliable enough not to need referral out to a CLIA laboratory.  CLIA is short for the federal law called the “Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments."  For dentists, these CLIA-waived tests are not for diagnostic purposes, but are screening tools for making appropriate referrals for medical care by physicians where appropriate prior to dental treatment. Currently, while there are some COVID-19 in-office tests that are deemed to be CLIA-waived through Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) granted by the FDA, none of them are on the current POLEP test authorization list in New York yet.  This can change daily, so dentists need to check with POLEP daily for updated authorized test lists. To register with POLEP, go to:


FAQs on Diagnostic Testing for SARS-CoV-2

See NYSDOH for testing information


  • Pregnant staff members should seek and follow medical guidance from their physician regarding work.
  • Information on COVID-19 in pregnancy is limited. Offices may want to consider limiting exposure of pregnant staff, especially during higher risk procedures.

Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with COVID-19

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology

COVID-19 Employee Screening

  • Consider implementing a daily health screening check point and log for all employees entering the workplace.
  • Respecting confidentiality, ask all persons reporting to work:
    • Do you have symptoms?
    • Are you ill, or caring for someone who is ill?
    • In the 2 weeks before you felt sick, did you have contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 or live in or visit a place where COVID-19 is spreading?

COVID-19 Daily Screening Log (English)

COVID-19 Daily Screening Log (Spanish)

What to do if Someone on Your Staff Tests Positive for COVID-19

COVID-19 Employment Law FAQs

Interim U.S. Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Management of Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure in a Healthcare Setting to Patients with COVID-19

ADA COVID-19 Hazard Assessment