COVID-19 and Dental Care Services

Dentistry and Novel Coronavirus

The COVID-2019 outbreak has raised concerns for healthcare professionals and personnel. Dentists and dental personnel are also a part of this matter. Thus, attention must be given to preventive measures to minimize the risks of contamination. Below is a short summary on how the dental clinics can face the current situation:

We should know the major transmission routes of Novel Coronavirus. These include: Contact (person-to-person) spread, transmission via contaminated surfaces and airborne spread. While, in general, airborne spread of the disease is not a big concern, in dental practice it becomes a critical issue as the enormous amount of created aerosols in the dental settings can carry an excessively large number of viruses.

Knowing the main ways the virus can transmit, effective measures must be taken to avoid any contamination. First and foremost, prior to any examination, patients should be evaluated for possible contamination. That must aim to screen patients with fever, cough or respiratory problems, those who recently traveled to COVID-19-epidemic countries, and the ones who may have had contact with possible COVID-19+ individuals. Treatment for these patients is advised to be postponed. For seemingly healthy patients also treatments should be performed in a strictly controlled environment. In areas where the disease is epidemic, elective procedures are recommended to be deferred to a later time. When in the clinic, clinicians and their teams must adhere to strict infection control strategies. Hands must be washed regularly at least before and after any treatment or examination. Masks, gloves, protective eyeglasses, head covers, face shields, and protective outwear are recommended. Surfaces should be disinfected frequently. The hazardous wastes should be kept in closed-lid trash cans. Furthermore, patients should be instructed to wash their mouths before beginning the procedure with a hydrogen-peroxide-contained mouth rinse. Using rubber dam also can help in reducing the amount of generated droplets.

What mentioned above is just an advice to hopefully reduce the risk of contamination and cannot guarantee prevention of transmission.

Further reading:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41368-020-0075-9

https://success.ada.org/en/practice-management/patients/infectious-diseases-2019-novel-coronavirus