A Message from State Oral Health Coalition about COVID-19

As the reach of the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies around the state, the PA Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) is increasingly concerned about access to emergency dental care for everyone in Pennsylvania who may need it. We applaud Governor Wolf for prohibiting elective dental procedures in his statement around life-sustaining businesses last week. It may be increasingly difficult for people to find care as restrictions are announced, and we do have concerns that very few offices in the state will be able to continue providing emergency dental treatment. We are addressing these concerns to those in leadership and continue to work towards a solution to offer palliative care and emergency treatment in the safest manner possible to all who need it.

“What Constitutes a Dental Emergency” 
American Dental Association

“Infection Control Guidelines for Healthcare Personnel” 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Guidance on COVID-19 for Dental Health Care Personnel in Pennsylvania” 
Pennsylvania Department of Health

IRRC to Consider New Regulation for Child Abuse Reporting for Dentists

On Thursday, March 19 the Independent Regulatory Review Committee (IRRC) will consider a final regulation, as required by the Child Protective Services Law, to implement the mandatory reporting requirements for practitioners regulated by the State Board of Dentistry. As “mandated reporters,” board regulated practitioners will be required to complete mandatory training in child abuse recognition and reporting.

States’ Oral Health Providers Scope of Practice

Supported through HRSA’s cooperative agreement with National Organizations of State and Local Officials, the Scope of Practice Policy website now includes information on dental hygienists with direct access to initiate treatment without the specific authorization of a dentist. The site also features interactive maps that highlight which states allow dental therapists to practice and which states allow the practice of teledentistry services.

See the maps.

Concerns Expressed with NTP’s 2019 Monograph

In September 2019, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released a draft monograph concluding that “fluoride is presumed to be a cognitive neurodevelopmental hazard to humans.” Before finalizing its monograph, NTP asked a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to review its conclusion and decide whether it is supported by the scientific evidence. In a new report, the Committee finds that NTP’s monograph failed to provide adequate support for its conclusion. The American Fluoridation Society (AFS) released a document reviewing the main points of the Committee’s report.

Click here to read the AFS summary.

HRSA Retains Dental Sealant Measure for 2020

The draft dental sealant measure, CMS277, captures the percentage of children age 6-9 years, at moderate to high risk for caries who received a sealant on a first permanent molar during the measurement period. The dental sealant measure will be retained for 2020. Based on feedback received during the public comment period, HRSA will not move forward with adding the fluoride varnish measure (CMS74) for 2020.

Message from PA Oral Health Coalition about COVID-19

The PA Coalition for Oral Health (PCOH) has releaesd a statement on oral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“As Pennsylvania has been justifiably proactive in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, the PA Coalition for Oral Health supports the state issuing directives to the dental community immediately to initiate ’emergency treatment only’ policies. Stopping the spread of this virus and protecting the health and safety of patients, their family members, and dental professionals is our first priority.”

Click here to read the full message.

Hidden Pain: America’s Oral Health Crisis

The production Hidden Pain: America’s Oral Health Crisis, is a short film by The Jon C Burr Foundation that addresses the pain, suffering and enormous cost to the American people of not providing access to Oral Healthcare. Dr. Mike Monopoli, Executive Director of Grant Strategy for the DentaQuest Partnership offered his subject matter expertise, and several Partnership grantees are featured sharing their perspectives about how to change the system and improve health outcomes. Watch this important documentary here.

Hospital Utilization for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions in Oregon from 2013 to 2015

Access to oral health benefits is a state by state issue – either the coverage is uneven or totally lacking – and can result in costly trips to the hospital for non-traumatic dental conditions. The DentaQuest Partnership took an in-depth look into Emergency Department (ED) visits specifically in Oregon for non-traumatic dental conditions, and found a need for multi-level solutions, such as teledentistry, to decrease ED utilization across the state. Read the study here.