Dental Practices Introduce New Safety Practices Ahead of Reopening
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a shutdown of routine dental work. In order to limit the risk of infection to patients and staff, many dental practices cancelled or postponed elective and non-urgent procedures as well as routine cleanings. Dentists are one of the professions most at risk of COVID-19 infection along with respiratory therapists and oral surgeons. Some dental procedures can create an aerosol cloud which could hold virus particles for up to three hours. However, delaying the reopening for routine dental care could lead to an increased need for more complex and costly procedures in the future.
As countries begin easing lockdown restrictions, dental practices are looking to source more personal protective equipment and set in place patient screening procedures to ensure they can reopen safely. In the US, the Organized Dentistry Coalition has asked for dentists to be allowed purchase PPE with paycheck protection funding since securing an adequate supply is essential if they are to safely reopen for routine and elective procedures. Other safety measures could include introducing air disinfection technologies, limiting the number of procedures carried out per day to allow rooms to be disinfected between patients and closing waiting rooms to prevent patients from congregating there.
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