An interesting study published in the International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry looked at the incidence of COVID-19 virus transmission in three dental offices as a six month retrospective study in America.
SARS-CoV-2 has shown the ability to become aerosolised with a potential airborne route of transmission.
Dentist and dental hygienists are listed as two of the occupations in a non-hospital setting with the greatest risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This results from the fact that routine dental procedures involve aerosol generation.
The WHO recommended in the statement on interim guidance that all routine dental procedures should be delayed until COVID-19 transmission rates had decreased from community transmission to cluster cases and until the risk of transmission in the dental office could be studied and evaluated.
A study by Scott H Froum published in the International Journal of Periodontics and Restorative Dentistry November December 2020 evaluated this risk.
The study involved 2,810 patients treated over a six month period from March 15 to December 15, 2020 in three different dental offices by two dentists and three hygienists during and shortly after the height of the pandemic in New York.
By utilising screening questionnaires, performing enhanced infection control and having appropriate personal protective equipment, these dental offices were able to record no transmission of COVID-19 to the dental healthcare workers or patients during the study.
In addition, 69% of the patients treated in these dental offices were recorded as having one or more high risk comorbidities related to COVID-19 severity.
The London General Practice is pleased to learn that protective measures such as PPE, facemasks and distancing and effective measures has reduced the risk of patients contracting or dental workers contracting COVID-19 from aerosol borne procedures such as dentistry.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
London General Practice