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TSBDE Adopts Emergency Rule to Reopen Dental Practices

A short time ago after round-the-clock work from TDA fueled by your input, Governor Abbott approved the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners (TSBDE) emergency rule that dentists—that choose to open—must follow to safely reopen their dental practices tomorrow, May 1, 2020, at 12:01 AM. The rule may be read HERE.

We are grateful that TDA advocacy efforts resulted in a direct impact on the Governor’s decision to permit certain hygiene procedures to be performed in your practices while achieving the safety goals both the Governor and the TDA remain focused upon. Your membership and input were invaluable in this process.

Dentists must now conduct their practices according to the modified emergency rule that dictates the minimum standards for safely practices dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. TDA will be working to provide community and patient-facing messaging to provide both clarity and confidence in the measures. Now more than ever, our solidarity is key to our ability to serve Texans.

Highlights of the emergency rule that all Texas dental practices must strictly adhere to include:

  • Implementing transmission based precautions, including N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent for all Dental Health Care Personnel (DHCP) who will be within 6 feet of any and all procedures likely to involve aerosols.
  • DHCP can only use hand instruments and low speed tools for hygiene services and procedures.
  • Reduce aerosol production as much as possible.

DHCP may prioritize the use of hand instruments; should use dental isolation if an aerosol-producing procedure is being performed to help minimize aerosol or splatter.
It is important to know and share with your staffs that neither Governor Abbott’s GA-19 order nor the TSBDE’s emergency rule require dentists to fully reopen. Dentists must use their professional judgement to determine if they can fully comply with the TSBDE’s COVID-19 guidelines. This means having and utilizing all required personal protective equipment such as N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent.

Click here for details on N95 respirator masks, KN-95 masks, or their substantial equivalent.

TDA is actively working to secure leads and resources on masks that meet these requirements for dental practices. The TDA advocacy team is working directly with Governor Abbott’s office and Nim Kidd, Chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regarding this issue. We will share information as it becomes available. 

Check TDA’s “Reopening Your Practice” on for help creating your COVID-19 office procedures required by the TSBDE’s emergency rule.

TDA continues to diligently represent and advocate on your behalf as Texas’ dentists. Thank you for being a member