The Journal of Dental Researchhas published a paper written by researchers at Wuhan University School & Hospital of Stomatology with a number of recommendations for dental practitioners and dental students in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which has been identified as sever acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2).
“For dental practices and hospitals in countries/regions that are (potentially) affected with COVID-19, strict and effective infection control protocols are urgently needed,” the authors said. “
Dentists should take strict personal protection measures and avoid or minimize operations that can produce droplets or aerosols. Four-handed technique is beneficial for controlling infection. The use of saliva ejectors with low volume or high volume can reduce the production of droplets and aerosols,” they continued.
The authors encourage dental clinics to establish pre-check triages to measure and record the temperature of every member of the staff and patient as a routine procedure. Preoperative antimicrobial mouth rinse also could reduce the number of microbes in the oral cavity.
Additionally, dental emergencies can occur and exacerbate in a short period of time, requiring immediate treatment. Rubber dams and high-volume saliva ejectors can help minimize aerosol or spatter in dental procedures. The treatment planning of tooth fracture, luxation, or avulsion depends on the age, the traumatic severity of dental tissue, the development of the apex, and the duration of tooth avulsion.
In regions that are heavily affected by COVID-19, patients in dental clinic waiting rooms should be provided with medical masks. If aerosol-producing procedures are unavoidable, dental practitioners should wear gowns, facial shields, or goggles.
As for dental education, online lectures, case studies, and problem-based learning tutorials should be adopted during the outbreak period to prevent unnecessary aggregation of people and the associated risk of infection.
Schools also should encourage students to engage in self-learning, make full use of online resources, and learn about the latest academic developments.
Plus, the authors noted that it’s easy for students to be affected by disease-associated fear and pressure, so dental schools should be prepared to provide psychological services to those who need them.
The authors called for further discussion and research on how to improve current infection control strategies and how to respond to similar contagious diseases in the future.
The paper, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Emerging and Future Challenges for Dental and Oral Medicine,” was published by the Journal of Dental Research.