March 18, 2020

School plans webinars to help dentists provide essential care

The School of Dentistry has marshaled its expertise to help Washington dentists provide essential patient care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Key faculty members will collaborate on live webinars giving clinical advice, starting this Friday. Dentists and their staffs can find the webinars posted on the school’s continuing dental education website. The webinars are given at no charge as a public service.

The Friday webinar has already reach its limit of 300 sign-ups, said Sally Gee, the school’s director of continuing education. However, it will be repeated in coming days, and dentists should continue to monitor the website for further postings, she said.

Email notices are also being sent to all Washington dentists and registered dental hygienists, plus anyone who has taken School of Dentistry continuing education courses, she said.

The webinars will cover not only basic information about the novel coronavirus, but specific clinical advice on 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

To reduce the risk to patients, the school’s clinics have suspended all elective procedures. However, the school will continue to provide essential care, as will many private dentists.

“While the American Dental Association and the Washington State Department of Health recommended this week that dentists postpone all elective procedures for their patients, we all must continue to provide urgent or emergency care,” said Dean Gary Chiodo. “We had already made that decision for our School of Dentistry clinics.

“However, we also felt that dentists and their staffs still needed specific clinical guidance on treating patients with COVID-19 – how to handle different procedures, personal protective equipment, infection control, and other matters. We are hoping to reach as many Washington dentists as possible with this information, and will continue to repeat the webinar as needed.”

While the webinars will be recorded, information will be updated as needed for new webinars, Gee said.

In addition, the school has created a new web page to advise current and prospective patients on what care is still available, and also answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and dental care.