Dental healthcare workers are at the highest risk as they are working next to the patients. Many dentists are already under quarantine, due to exposure to the virus. The need of the hour is to avoid any viral infections. Throughout treating patients bear in mind the following points. These are:
Dental health workers should be alert as they are exposed to an oral cavity, which is a common route to transmission of infection. They will need to be vigilant when delivering treatment to avoid nosocomial infection spread. Transmission of COVID-19 in dental practice is commonly via aerosol. Identify patients suffering from acute respiratory disease. COVID-19's distinctive feature is that it causes infection of both the upper and lower respiratory tract. Take the medical history right. The symptoms include fever, dry cough, breathability, fatigue, sputum production, myalgia, headache, chills, congestion of the nose, nausea & vomiting, diarrhea and conjunctival congestion.
A non-contact thermometer should be used to check the body temperature of the patient. Ask each patient about their history of travel in the previous 14 days or be in touch with a traveler.
- The treatment of these patients requires mandatory personal security equipment (PPE).
- After every use, autoclave handpieces.
- Studies have found that Povidone iodine mouth rinse was highly susceptible to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). Therefore, 0.2 percent povidone-iodine can be used to reduce the load of corona viruses in the pre-procedural mouth rinse of saliva.
- For dental procedures which produce an aerosol (e.g., endodontic or ultrasonic scaling) the high-speed evacuation should be used.
- Do hand hygiene for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. Sanitizers should be used based on 60 percent alcohol.
- Patients who are coughing should be given face masks.
- To avoid spread of diseases to other patients and staff, patients should be placed in isolation rooms.
- The dental offices should follow routine cleaning and disinfection strategies.
- In the dental clinic, appropriate spraying should be done.
- In order to avoid cross contamination, the use of disposable dental devices is necessary.
- Radiographs: Intraoral radiograms should be discouraged as gag reflex or cough can be produced. Extraoral x-rays (e.g. CBCT or panoramic x-ray) will be carried out. Dual barriers are made on sensors to prevent cross contamination when intra-oral imaging is required.
- Naturally, rubber dam for nonsurgical endodontic treatment should be used to minimize splatter production.
These steps should be followed and properly communicated by the office manager to ensure that the office staff as well as patients returning to thier everyday activites including dental vistis.