COVID-19 crisis: Top 8 ways for safety of dentists

What can a Dentist or You do to keep yourself, your dental practice and your patients safe? We have compiled a list of procedures and protocols collected from reputed dental groups in the World that you can implement to control the spread of COVID-19 in your dental office.

2. Mind your Hand Hygiene

Dental practice safer during COVID-19

Although appropriate hand hygiene should already be a routine prerequisite, further reinforcement can help mitigate the risk of viral spread.
The study recommends following the two-before and three-after hand hygiene guidelines for dental professionals:

  • before the patient examination;
  • before dental procedures;
  • after touching the patient;
  • after touching the surroundings and equipment that have not been disinfected; and
  • after touching the oral mucosa, damaged skin or a wound, blood, bodily fluid, secretion or excreta.

Moreover, all staff should take extra care to avoid touching their own eyes, mouths, and noses after or during a treatment.

3. Always use PPE (Personal Protective Equipments)

Dental practice safer during COVID-19

Even during routine dental treatment Airborne infections via aerosols are an area of concern. During the pandemic of COVID-19, it’s even more important to carefully use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to droplets or body fluids that may carry the infection.

Based on the possibility of the spread of 2019-nCoV infection, three-level protective measures of the dental professionals are recommended for specific situations.

  • Standard protection for staff in clinical settings: Disposable working caps, surgical masks and working clothes (white coat), protective goggles or face shields, and disposable latex or nitrile gloves.
  • Advanced protection for dental professionals: Additional disposable isolation clothing or surgical clothes overworking clothes in addition to standard protection.
  • Strengthened protection for being in contact with patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19: If this does occur, and you cannot avoid close contact, special protective outerwear is needed. If not available, working clothes with extra disposable protective clothing over them and impermeable shoe coverings should be added to what has already been listed.

4. Using Mouth Rinses before dental procedures

Dental practice safer during COVID-19

Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (the 5th edition) released by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China state, chlorhexidine, which is commonly used as a mouth rinse in dental practice, may not be effective to kill 2019-nCoV.

Since 2019-nCoV is vulnerable to oxidation, a preprocedural mouth rinse containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% povidone is recommended, for the purpose of reducing the salivary load of oral microbes.

5. Use of Rubber Dams

The use of rubber dams can significantly minimize the production of saliva- and blood-contaminated aerosol or spatter, particularly in cases when high-speed handpieces and dental ultrasonic devices are used. It has been reported that the use of rubber dam could significantly reduce airborne particles in ~3-foot diameter of the operational field by 70% (Ref)

6. Use the Correct HandPiece

Dental practice safer during COVID-19

Study has shown that the anti-retraction high-speed dental handpiece can significantly reduce the backflow of oral bacteria and HBV into the tubes of the handpiece and dental unit as compared with the handpiece without anti-retraction function. (Ref)