COVID-19: Clarification on the restrictions on dental practice

26 March 2020

We understand that there is some confusion about what procedures you can perform under each level of restriction, and which level of restrictions you should be applying. Recently we updated two documents on the website to provide clarity on what the restrictions mean at each level. 

1. Guide to Managing COVID-19 
2. ADA Dental Restriction Levels in COVID-19

The second document has been expanded to include 5 levels and is consistent with the advice provided to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, who advises the National Cabinet on the COVID-19 response.

In the absence of a government mandate, the ADA's has issued a recommendation nationally to apply level 2 restrictions. These recommendations have been made in the interest of minimising the risk to our ourselves, our staff, and our communities. 

Because the public system in some state and territories have implemented more stringent restrictions, some ADA Branches may, in the interest of members in their state, make a recommendation to increase to be consistent in private practice.

It is important to remember that the ADA is not the regulator. However, we have issued a clear recommendation in the interest of public and professional safety. If you are in a state where your ADA Branch has recommended a higher level than you have in place nationally, you should consider this recommendation with respect to the risk profile of your own specific circumstances. 

The ADA is getting and giving expert advice as rapidly as we can.

We have been working closely with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to ensure a phased and proportionate scaling down of dental services that minimises impact on the profession while reducing risk to the public. This will also ease the pressure on the overburdened public health system by ensuring private dental practices are able to safely provide appropriate services, so patients do not have to be redirected to emergency departments. 

If you are unsure about providing clinical care in the current environment, our recommendation is to err on the side of caution and send us a note at [email protected] so we can continue to develop information to provide clarity and direction and keep you and your staff safe. 

We won’t stop, no matter what. 

The entire ADA team in both the Federal Office and the Branches continue to work around the clock to support members during this difficult time. Here are just some of the activities the team are working on now: 

- Mental health support and partnerships 
- Pursuing a tele-dentistry item number 
- Connecting practices providing emergency treatment to supplies 
- Additional HR information and clarity 
- How we might help to re-deploy the workforce during any period of downturn 
- Advice on how we might temporarily repurpose dental practices 
- How we will get practices started again 
Given the enormity of the evolving situation, it’s important you ensure we have your best contact details so we’re able to reach you by phone, mail, and email. Don’t forget that the ADA’s HR Advisory Service can assist you with employee and employer advice and there is information available on mental health if you or someone in your practice wants to talk.