With the growing number of cases, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on Jan. 30. The epidemic has been constantly spreading across all the continents of the world except Antarctica and has taken away more than 4000 lives across the globe. As a measure to control the pandemic, officials are releasing guidelines for professionals and people to follow.
Studies have reported patients with COVID-19 experience acute respiratory illnesses symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Such a patient may seek help from a dentist for any mouth-related issue. Dentists have to be alert about these symptoms and identify these markers. To help with this situation, The American Dental Association has released an informational handout for dentists on the coronavirus disease with includes strategies for assisting the prevention of the transmission of expected respiratory disease in the dental health care setting and answers frequently asked questions related to the virus. The handout is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What can dentists do to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
1. Give patients showing symptoms should wear a disposable surgical mask to wear.
2. Limit contact with other patients by keeping them in isolation.
3. Both the patients and dentists should follow cough etiquette infection control measures.
4. the dentist attending a coughing patient should also wear a disposable mask, nonsterile gloves, gown, and eye protection to avoid exposure to the virus.
5. Avoid as much physical contact as possible and use tissues and no-touch receptacles to throw away used items.
6. Dental clinics should ensure regular cleaning and disinfection.
Following these guidelines are some of the ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a dental setting. As more information comes to light, the ADA advises checking for updates on the CDC’s coronavirus infection control page for health care professionals. Dentists are also advised to take only serious cases that require immediate help and postpone non-emergency procedures if the person shows signs of the disease. Healthcare personnel should take the flu vaccine and anyone experiencing flu symptoms is required to stay home as a precautionary measure.