Understanding what really protects us in dentistry—it isn’t just our PPE

Rather than relying on the false sense of security PPE provides, we should constantly be taking precautions and following protocols that promote safe environments in our dental practices.



With editorial assistance from Shari Chase Our PPE is not the only thing to protect us in dentistry. There are many other defenses and precautions that keep us safe and limit the spread of infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light multiple perspectives on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in dentistry. Some practitioners believe that we have good enough PPE in dentistry and should be allowed to continue working throughout the pandemic, while others are afraid to return to their workplaces because they fear for their own and their patients’ health.


What neither of these groups seems to recognize is that PPE is the last control we have to protect ourselves against infectious disease. Rather than relying on the false sense of security it provides, we should constantly be taking precautions and following protocols that promote safe environments in our dental practices.1 We have to review and reinforce proper safety protocols so that our PPE is only there to protect us if, in a rare instance, all of our other lines of defense against infection have failed.