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Changing Masks

I work in an office currently where I was confronted about using “too many masks”…. the dentist and other hygienist who has worked there for 20+ years use the SAME mask all day, and only changes hers after she does a scaling (maybe). I switch after every. single. patient. The owner of the practice has even made his associate dentist buy his own masks since he “uses too many”. I’m afraid that sooner than later I’m going to have to do the same. How do I respond to this? It totally caught me off guard when he confronted me about it the first time.

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1 Answer

Wearing the same mask all day is not acceptable! Masks should be changed for each patient, after 1 hour during prolonged treatment, and every 20 minutes in a highly aerosolized environment (i.e. ultrasonic use). It might be helpful if the owner of the practice is shown CDC guidelines, OSAP recommendations, and OSHA requirements. Here’s a link from OSAP:
2nd to last question: https://www.osap.org/page/FAQ_PPE#shouldfacemasks
OSHA requires a workplace to be safe and must provide appropriate PPE. If having a chat and showing requirements to the owner doesn’t help, and you are forced to wear only one mask per day, it might be a good idea to file an OSHA complaint. Your safety is top priority!

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