Dentists in California can help the state with its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by registering to volunteer at the Disaster Healthcare Volunteers website, according to the California Dental Association (CDA).
Dentists are important resources in a crisis, with their knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and sterile surgical techniques, according to a statement released by the CDA.
Dentists may volunteer for two emergency response teams -- the Medical Reserve Corps and the California Medical Assistance Team -- or opt to participate on a single-event basis by taking vital signs, performing COVID-19 testing, conducting triage, treating emergencies (including local anesthesia and suturing), administering oxygen or injectables, or writing prescriptions. Oral surgeons and dentist anesthesiologists may intubate and provide anesthesia services, the CDA said.
California law offers those with dental education and emergency training immunity from liability for care provided "in good faith" in an emergency, according to the CDA.
In addition, dentists may donate N95 and surgical masks, face shields, gowns, gloves, ventilators, and hand sanitizer to hospitals and emergency departments. The CDA Foundation has donated 15,000 masks, 25,000 gloves, and 2,000 gowns to a Southern California hospital, it said.