Is Dentistry Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Dentistry in the UK is now pretty much back up and running in its 'new normal' after the Government closed practices during the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic. But was it the right thing to do?! That's a debate we can leave to the politicians...
Now that routine appointments are offered, what can you expect from visiting us in our happy place?
Enhanced PPE - FFP3 masks and gowns are now required for aerosol generating procedures to make sure us dentists and nurses are well protected from our patients 'spray'
Fallow period after treatments creating an aerosol - to ensure the next patient is protected from another patient's spray
Social distancing measures and minimal footfall in the practice
COVID-19 screening prior to you attending the practice
Online procedures to obtain your medical history and other information
Is it safe you ask? OF COURSE it's safe!
Dentists have been around bacteria, viruses and fungi forever - we know what we are doing. One of the first things they taught us at Dental School was cross infection control to minimise the risk of spreading infection. We basically treat everyone as if they are one big human ball of infection - so there isn't much else we can do!
A recent study published in The Lancet on10th August 2020 states that 'Although there is no evidence that aerosols generated from dental care lead to transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), guidelines have been recommended given the urgency of the epidemic'.
Another point to note is that we can also put in place more protective measures so that an aerosol is even more contained. For example, we have high volume suction and highly trained nurses who can use this equipment well. We also have certain tools and treatment aids like a rubber dam that is used to isolate the tooth being treated preventing any spray other than the water from our hand-piece exiting the mouth.
The introduction of online consultations has also helped dentists reduce the footfall in the practice and also allows existing and new patients the ability to chat through any issues before attending the practice. I offer these at specific times and they have been very successful so far!
The pandemic has certainly posed significant challenges to the dental profession but we are all ready and raring to get going again in the safest way possible. Come visit us soon, we are open!
(link to The Lancet https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30636-8 if interested!)