UW School of Dentistry

COVID-19 webinar recorded for dental providers

Washington dentists and other dental care providers who were unable to secure a slot for the School of Dentistry’s March 20 live webinar on patient care during the COVID-19 outbreak can now view a new recorded version. As with the live webinar, the recorded presentation is free of charge as a public service.

The presentation by Dr. Frank Roberts, Interim Chair of Periodontics, features updated information and is aimed at helping private dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants deliver urgent patient care during the outbreak. The presentation features basic information on the novel coronavirus and covers subjects including:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Communicating with patients
  • What to do if a patient is COVID-19 positive
  • Dental procedures in the COVID-19 climate
  • Infection control

The webinar also features a panel discussion with Dean Gary Chiodo and Dr. Roberts, who also directs  the school’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program. Other panel members are Dr. Sara Gordon, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and a member of the school’s Oral Medicine faculty; Dr. Mark Drangsholt, Chair of Oral Medicine and holder of a PhD in epidemiology; and Dr. Rolf Christensen, Director of the Dental Urgent Care Clinic and member of the Oral Medicine faculty.

While the recorded webinar is free, registration is required. Those who complete the webinar will receive two hours of continuing-education credit.

To reduce the risk to patients and comply with directives by Gov. Jay Inslee, the school’s clinics have suspended all elective procedures. However, the school continues to provide urgent care, as do many private dentists.

“We felt that dentists and their staffs needed specific clinical guidance on treating patients with COVID-19 – how to handle different procedures, personal protective equipment, infection control, and other matters,” Dean Chiodo said earlier. “We are hoping to reach as many Washington dentists as possible with this information.”

The information will continue to be updated for subsequent webinars. A Q&A from the original live webinar is also available.

School extends travel restrictions

The School of Dentistry has extended travel restrictions on faculty, staff, and students that were imposed on March 9 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The restrictions, which were initially imposed through April 3, have been extended through May 1, Dean Gary Chiodo said. They prohibit University of Washington-related travel for  conferences and meetings, and exceptions must be approved by the dean and the appropriate department chair.

The extension of the restrictions keeps the School of Dentistry aligned with the policy adopted by UW Medicine and other UW Health Sciences schools. The School of Dentistry has also prohibited outside visitors, except for patients requiring urgent care as noted here.

In addition, the dean has strongly urged faculty, staff, and students to avoid personal travel outside Puget Sound during this time to minimize risk of exposure.

The school has already shifted classroom instruction to online platforms and is conducting meetings via Zoom. All clinical activities except for urgent or emergency care have been suspended, as have students’ external clinical rotations.

Full SOD Travel Restriction Policy (PDF)

School gives vital supplies to UW Medicine

Front-line UW Medicine providers who have been struggling to obtain vital supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak are getting a helping hand from the UW School of Dentistry.

In mid-March, the school suspended all clinical care except for urgent or emergency care. While the school’s clinics have also faced shortages of needed protective gear, Dr. Ricardo Schwedhelm, the associate dean for clinics, determined that the non-urgent clinics could still manage to spare some critically needed supplies for UW Medicine.

“The School of Dentistry must be supportive of UW Medicine and aid them however we can,” he said in a message to clinic managers and supervisors on Monday. He asked them to check their inventory and put aside only enough personal protective equipment to handle one week of typical patient traffic. The rest, he said, could be passed on to UW Medicine.

Donated supplies
Supplies donated by the School of Dentistry to UW Medicine include gloves, masks, gowns, disinfectant, and sanitizing wipes.

Clinic staff rounded up gloves, masks, gowns, disinfectant, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and Lysol for UW Medicine. The school will continue to secure supplies for its own Dental Urgent Care Clinic and the urgent care also being provided at the Center for Pediatric Dentistry and the Northwest Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, both of which are at the school’s Sand Point campus at Magnuson Park.

UW Medicine personnel came by Wednesday to pick up the supplies and “were delighted with what we were passing on to them,” said Teresa Douglas, the school’s director of central purchasing. “I was told we had the ‘good stuff’ that they really needed. … We have really helped out a lot of first-line defenders.”

Any supplies acquired beyond what is needed for urgent care will be reviewed for possible further donations to UW Medicine, which can choose to deploy them at the UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, or elsewhere in the UW medical network. The school plans to continue the suspension of normal care until at least May 18, following the rules issued by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“We need to do our part to protect those in the front line,” Dr. Schwedhelm said in his message.