COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

As always, dental practitioners should exercise their clinical judgement when considering which measures they will continue to implement.  The ADA continues to encourage practitioners to refer to the ADA Risk management Principles for dentistry Guidelines prepared by the ADA Infection Control Committee (ICC) and available at: Covid-19 Portal - Australian Dental Association ( and to implement effective, sustainable strategies to reduce risk of transmission.

It is important to recognize that strains of the Covid-19 virus remain circulating in the Community.

See:  COVID-19 dashboard | SA Health for reported case numbers.

Positive Case Restrictions

Mandatory quarantine requirements for covid positive people (such as patients) have now been lifted but are still strongly recommended. In theory – a person (either knowingly or not) may attend your practice who is covid positive. Your ongoing commitment to screening questions – and requests for people to postpone their treatment/appointment if they are symptomatic (ie: experiencing any cold or flu like symptoms) should be maintained as part of your risk mitigation and infection control strategy.

Close Contact Rules

As per the removal of quarantine restrictions, close contact rules no longer apply in legislative terms. Again, your ongoing commitment to screening questions – and requests for people to postpone their treatment/appointment if they are experiencing any cold or flu like symptoms should be maintained as part of your risk mitigation and infection control strategy. Similarly, you may wish to continue to implement additional precautions for staff who are a close contact, such as wearing a PFR (respirator) around others and/or regular RAT testing as part of your risk mitigation and infection control strategy.

Return to Work for Covid positive individuals

Staff who are COVID positive should not attend work for 7 days, as per SA Health recommendations and not return until asymptomatic: COVID-19 positive frequently asked questions (FAQs) | SA Health

As part of your ongoing infection control processes, we recommend that staff who display cold and flu like symptoms, do not attend the workplace. 

Free RAT tests are now only available for vulnerable individuals: Rapid antigen testing (RAT) for COVID-19 | SA Health

Does the business require a medical certificate for sick leave payments?

The ADA HR team have indicated that employees taking more than 2 days leave should supply a medical certificate when seeking payment for sick leave – where the employee is likely, the employee would be best advised to contact their GP by ‘phone to obtain more information (ie: there may be a procedure/protocol for this and it may be possible for the medical certificate to be issued following a telehealth consult rather than through attendance at the clinic).

You may wish to discuss this aspect of your query further with the ADA HR team on 1300 232 462. 

ADA HR have provided a range of advice for Members at Covid-19 Portal - Australian Dental Association (

Vaccinations for health care workers in SA

For information on health care worker immunisations and screening requirements in South Australia, please go to: Health care worker immunisation and screening requirements | SA Health

The ADA recommends, as part of good practice for ongoing infection prevention control and work, health and safety responsibilities, that dental staff continue to be vaccinated in line with government recommendations. Should you have any queries please contact the ADA HR team: Human Resources Hub - Australian Dental Association - Australian Dental Association (

Pre-procedural mouthwash:

Whilst there is no longer a mandated requirement to include preventive measures such as using pre-procedural mouthwash, screening processes, enhanced environmental cleaning or rubber dam for aerosol generating procedures, these strategies do reduce the risk of transmission.  

Research indicates* that the use of a 60 second rinse with an antimicrobial solution prior to dental care reduces viral load in saliva and limits transmission. Even supermarket-branded mouthwashes have been shown to have some anti-viral activity.  From best to worst, the most efficacious solutions tested in the dental clinical setting include:

  • Ozonated water (must be a freshly-prepared solution with ozone 0.1ppm or greater)
  • Essential oils (Listerine)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (0.5 – 1.0%)
  • Cetylpyridinium chloride (0.07 – 0.1%)
  • Povidine-iodone (0.23 – 1%)
  • Chlorhexidine (0.12 – 0.2%)
  • Chlorhexidine + alcohol

* Marui VC et al.   Efficacy of preprocedural mouth rinses in the reduction of microorganisms in aerosol: A systematic review. J Am Dent Assn. 2019; 150(12), 1015–1026.e1

Environmental cleaning and wiping down the dental chair between patients:

The ADA has a document on Environmental cleaning for your reference, Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance in the context of COVID-19  - please visit the ADA COVID-19 page Covid-19 Portal - Australian Dental Association ( and scroll down to ‘Critical Information & Resources’