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COVID-19 Respiratory Droplet and Aerosol Protection

Learn how to maintain a safe work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic based on CDC guidance and OSHA requirements. This interactive article presents a real-world scenario for respiratory droplet and aerosol protection to ensure safety in dentistry.

Course Overview

CE Credits
Months to Access Course
Hours to Complete
Post-Course Assessment Questions

Safety for patients and staff is always a top priority in dentistry. This interactive article presents a real-world scenario that provides context for respiratory droplet and aerosol protection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how to establish and maintain a safe work environment and limit the spread of contamination based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for respiratory protection.

By completing this article, you’ll learn about source control and how it is achieved in dentistry, as well as respiratory protection, the levels of surgical facemasks, and the types of filtering facepiece respirators.

This module is a part of a collaboration between the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and the DALE Foundation. For the latest COVID-19 guidance for dental settings, visit the CDC’s Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Course Credentials

February 2021
September 2021; July 2022
Next Review:
February 2024

Course Compatibility

Desktop, laptop and tablet

AGD Code: 148

After completing this article, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe source control and how it is achieved in dentistry
  • Describe respiratory protection and how it is achieved in dentistry
  • Describe the different levels of surgical facemasks
  • Describe the different types of filtering facepiece respirators

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Subject Matter Experts

The material featured in this CDEA module was originally published in Infection Control In Practice Team Huddle™, a resource for clinicians from OSAP to help build a framework for the Safest Dental Visit™.


The DALE Foundation is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education, ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at


The DALE Foundation is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing education programs of this program provider are accepted by AGD for Fellowship, Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from 9/1/2021 to 8/31/2024. Provider ID# 355127