With the global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the AAP has been diligently monitoring information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), the American Dental Association (ADA), and state and local agencies, and will continue to share relevant news with the membership as expeditiously as possible.

The AAP recommends that periodontists refer to all appropriate state and federal recommendations and mandates and should regularly consult state dental boards or other regulating agencies for information and rules specific to their jurisdictions.

Continue to use evidence-based decision making in your practice to ensure your staff, your patients, and you remain healthy. Members are encouraged to visit the CDC’s COVID-19 page for the most up-to-date information regarding the virus. The CDC has provided guidance specifically for dental professionals, and a framework for healthcare systems providing non-COVID-19 clinical care. The ADA also has a robust coronavirus resource center with on-demand webinars and practice resources.

AAP COVID-19 Webinar Recordings

The AAP has a series of COVID-19 webinars. Please note webinar recordings are only accessible by AAP members.

A March 2021 update to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act authorizes all dentists and dental students to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 nationwide. For more information on Expanding the COVID-19 Vaccination Workforce, and how to register as a volunteer vaccinator in your state or U.S. territory, visit the PREP Act COVID-19 Declaration webpage.

Periodontists should continue to follow their state and local guidelines regarding vaccine distribution and recommendations for healthcare professionals. For information on your state, visit the ADA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Regulations for Dentists Map, which includes the states that allow dental professionals to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Several resources are available regarding vaccines and the role that dental professionals can play in COVID-19 testing, vaccine distribution, and patient communication:

Look to your state dental society for recommendations specific to your area.

For the most current information specific to your state, visit the CDC’s State & Territorial Health Department Websites, consult the Directory of Local Health Departments or contact your local dental association, state dental board, or local government office.

For an up-to-date view on Congressional legislation related to coronavirus relief, please visit congress.gov. Links to recent legislation can be found below:

Visit the ADA’s Coronavirus Center for Dentists for the latest updates and information for dental practices. Available resources include updated information on vaccinespatient communication, and on-demand webinars.

IADR also has a robust collection of COVID-19 resources with links to the latest COVID-19 research published in the Journal of Dental Research and AADR has an ongoing COVID-19 Webinar Series.

COVID-19 Informed Consent Forms
The AAP has developed customizable informed consent forms for members to use when returning to practice. The Assumption of Risk, Release, and Waiver of Liability Agreement (the “Agreement”) and the accompanying Explanation of Purpose (“Explanation”) are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice to our members or their patients. Furthermore, the American Academy of Periodontology makes no guarantees of, and assumes no responsibility for, the accuracy, efficacy, or timeliness of the Agreement or the Explanation. Law varies by jurisdiction, and while the Agreement and Explanation are intended to provide generic templates, they may not be legally compliant or enforceable in your jurisdiction. You are encouraged to consult with legal counsel prior to any use of the Agreement or Explanation. The forms should not be a substitute for taking all reasonable precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 in your office or clinic. Members must review the disclaimer in advance of use.

Additional resources for members in private practice:

CDT Codes
Two new CDT codes for COVID-19 testing are now available for use. See the ADA’s COVID-19 Coding and Billing Interim Guidance and PPE Billing and Coding Guidance for more information.

CPT Codes
New Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes have been created and revised to accommodate COVID-19 related testing. The AMA has provided special coding guidance, a Fact Sheet for Reporting COVID-19 Laboratory Testing, and a flowchart for reporting COVID-19 testing to provide guidance on these new codes.

ICD-10-CM Code
The CDC has developed an ICD-10-CM code for COVID-19. See ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines for more information.

Teledentistry CDT Codes
For practices utilizing teledentistry services, two CDT codes can be used:

  • D9995 – teledentistry – synchronous; real-time encounter
    Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.
  • D9996 – teledentistry – asynchronous; information stored and forwarded to dentist for subsequent review
    Reported in addition to other procedures (e.g., diagnostic) delivered to the patient on the date of service.

Note that these procedure codes are in the adjunctive area in the code set and may not be a covered benefit in some dental plans.

The ADA has more information about coding for teledentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact the AAP’s third party specialist, Pam Throw, at (312) 573-3241 or [email protected], for further assistance.

Misinformation about COVID-19 is widely available, and patients may look to you for guidance during this time. The CDC has developed a number of free communication resources that include handouts, factsheets, posters, and videos to provide to staff and patients. You can also direct them to the CDC’s FAQ Page for more detailed information.

For patient questions about vaccines, see the resources in the COVID-19 Vaccines section above.