New Guidance from the CDC in Dental Settings

April 15, 2022

The CDC Guidance for Dental Settings During the COVID-19 Response has been updated. Most recommendations in the updated guidance have been rearranged for clarity and are not new. Recent updates include:

  • How to respond to SARS-CoV-2 exposures among dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) and patients, and guidance on physical distancing.
  • The definition of fever changed to either a measured temperature ≥100.0°F or subjective fever to align with CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings.
  • In areas with moderate to substantial community transmission, during encounters with patients not suspected of SARS-CoV-2 infection, CDC recommends that DHCP:
    • Wear eye protection in addition to their facemask to ensure the eyes, nose, and mouth are all protected from exposure to respiratory secretions, including those where splashes and sprays are not anticipated.
    • Use an N95 respirator or a respirator that offers an equivalent or higher level of protection during aerosol generating procedures.
  • Added language that protective eyewear (e.g., safety glasses, trauma glasses) with gaps between glasses and the face likely do not protect eyes from all splashes and sprays.


It is unknown at this time how COVID-19 may permanently change infection control practices in dental health care settings. CDC continually assesses emerging scientific evidence for developing policies, guidelines, and recommendations. You can find the most up-to-date information about infection prevention and control practices on CDC’s COVID-19 page. This is an emerging, rapidly changing situation, and CDC will update this guidance as additional information becomes available.

 - updated August 4, 2020