Following the CDC’s removal of the recommendation calling for a 15-minute waiting period, the ADA said a waiting period is still important after aerosol-generating procedures. 

Despite the decision by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remove the recommendation calling for a 15-minute waiting period in its Interim Guidance for Dental Settings, the American Dental Association (ADA) said it is still important to wait before disinfecting patient treatment rooms after aerosol-generating procedures. 

“While there is no strong evidence that supports a one-size-fits-all 15-minute waiting period recommendation, it’s still very important to allow some time for aerosol droplets to settle prior to disinfection of the room to reduce the potential for virus transmission,” said Kirk Norbo, DDS, co-chair of the ADA’s Task Force on Dental Practice Recovery. “How much wait time is needed before disinfecting patient treatment rooms is dependent on a number of variables based on the individual practice setting.”

Norbo advises dentists to complete the ADA COVID-19 Hazard Assessment and use those results, together with their professional judgement, to make informed decisions about the waiting period for disinfection in their individual practices. Variables that should be considered include room air flow rate, length of aerosol-generating procedures, patient volume, use of HEPA filtration devices, and use of rubber dams and high speed evacuation.