A win for ADA with new masks sourced
(from ADA website: 8 March 2020)
With thousands of Australian dental practices facing imminent closure and the dental health of Australians in jeopardy, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) applauds the Federal Government for sourcing a new supply of masks.
Today (Sunday 8th March) the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the dental and medical professions would together receive 54 million masks.
This is a combination of surgical masks, P2 and N95 respirators which will form part of the National Medical Stockpile for use by medical, dental and aged care professionals. It is not yet known how many of these will go to dentists.
“This is great news for the dental profession,” said ADA President Dr Carmelo Bonanno.
“Since the coronavirus reduced the number of surgical masks coming into Australia, the ADA has been working hard behind the scenes and constantly talking to the Minister and Chief Medical Officer to get help in finding new mask suppliers.
“This week we finally went public and went to the media on a very difficult situation – if new supply sources weren’t found, many dental practices would be forced to shut their doors within the next four weeks.
“This is because dentists and their assistants both need to wear a new mask for every patient, with the nation’s 7,500 practices using around 9.5 million masks a month.
“Masks are an essential component of infection control and without these, dentists would be closing their doors in every state and territory very soon.
Face mask shortage could cause dentists
to close within four weeks (March 5th)
Dentists across the country are running out of surgical masks and could soon be forced to close their practices, the Australian Dental Association has warned.
Unprecedented demand for masks due to the coronavirus meant supplies at a large number of dental practices were expected to be gone within a month, the association's deputy CEO Eithne Irving said.
"Without surgical masks, dentists cannot treat patients safely and we run the risk of people going without treatment," Ms Irving said.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) estimates that Australian dentists use about 9.5 million masks a month and called on the Federal Government to secure the industry's supply.
“The ADA has been working intently with suppliers to locate new lines of supply, but we now believe that only the Federal Government can secure a supply of these masks to keep dentists’ doors open.”
The ADA estimates dental practices use around 9.5 million masks a month as a new mask is used for each patient.
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure dentists can see patients but without a guaranteed supply of masks, dentists cannot adhere to our strict Australian infection control standards. It means dental practices will be forced to close.”
Background on masks: Surgical (Level 2) grade masks are intended to protect both the health care provider and the patient because of their design and filtration. In a dental practice, procedures generate large quantities of aerosols (with the high-speed handpiece and/or triplex syringe when doing fillings and ultrasonic when doing cleaning) and a number of diseases may be transmitted via the airborne route. Consequently dentists must wear suitable fluid-resistant surgical masks that block particles of three microns or less to provide the correct level of protection.