Notice from the Dental Council of NSW

Message from the President

Since the last notice provided by the Dental Council of NSW on 12 July 2021 developments relating to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, not only in NSW but around the country. 

As you will be aware, additional restrictions came into effect over the weekend across Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, Shellharbour, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains. The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly infectious and our government and health authorities continue to implement measures to keep us all safe and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. It is important that we continue to abide by the Public Health Orders and restrictions currently in place and keep abreast of the latest developments via the NSW Health website.

At this time, dental practitioners throughout the affected areas should restrict care to the assessment and treatment of emergency and urgent dental conditions only. Dental care that does not meet this criteria should be deferred.

The provision of care by registered dental practitioners should always be aimed at achieving an optimum outcome. Dental practitioners must use their professional judgement when assessing the risk and/or when determining whether the proposed treatment/procedure is deemed urgent or emergency care. In this assessment, practitioners should also evaluate whether delaying treatment may lead to an unfavourable clinical result. 

As dental practitioners, we have a professional obligation to keep our patients, staff and ourselves safe. Adhering to infection control standards and guidelines at all times ensures that we are achieving this, particularly at this time.

Risk assessment is a major part of our day and we need to continually assess and reassess the risk for each patient. Noting the advice from our health authorities regarding the Delta variant, it is essential that the possible transmission of COVID-19 is at the forefront of our minds when treating any patient and when assessing the risk involved with each case. 

Concern has been expressed regarding the appropriate and correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), in particular face masks within the dental setting. It is recommended that dental practitioners ensure all persons (for example, patients, couriers, staff) within the dental premises (waiting room, reception, clinic) use the appropriate PPE correctly. Dental practitioners are obligated to meet all approved standards and guidelines as outlined in the Dental Board of Australia’s Guidelines on infection control.

NSW Health and the Australian Dental Association Inc. have developed and updated a number of resources relating to the use of PPE. These can be accessed via the NSW Health website and the ADA COVID-19 resource portal.

As previously advised, the Council will continue to monitor this evolving situation and consult with our health authorities. We will also continue to provide all NSW dental practitioners with updates as required.

If you are experiencing difficulties, the Council strongly recommends you contact Dental Practitioner Support. This is a well-being support service for dental practitioners funded by the Dental Board of Australia. An experienced team of counsellors will provide confidential and immediate support.

Dental Practitioner Support can be accessed via 24/7 telephone at 1800 377 700 or at dpsupport.org.au

On behalf of the Council, thank you for continuing to keep our patients, staff and community safe.

 

Clinical Associate Professor F. Shane Fryer OAM
President
Dental Council of NSW

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