Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic in dental offices: A review of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and cross-infection prevention

Maya Hartig, Carley Stephens, Aaron Foster, Douglas Fontes, Michael Kinzel, Franklin García-Godoy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Due to the essential role of dentists in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose of this review is to help dentists to detect any weaknesses in their disinfection and cross-contamination prevention protocols, and to triage dental treatments to meet the needs of patients during the pandemic. We used PRISMA to identify peer-reviewed publications which supplemented guidance from the center for disease control about infection control and guidelines for dentists. Dentists must triage dental treatments to meet the needs of patients during the pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has changed the practice of dentistry forever, the changes make it more cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly due to the possible pathways of transmission and mitigation steps needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Dental chairside rapid tests for SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed. Until then, dentists need to screen patients for COVID-19 even though 75% of people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. Despite the widespread anxiety and fear of the devastating health effects of COVID-19, only 61% of dentists have implemented a change to their treatment protocols. As an urgent matter of public health, all dentists must identify the additional steps they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The most effective steps to stop the pandemic in dental offices are to; vaccinate all dentists, staff, and patients; triage dental treatments for patients, separate vulnerable patients, separate COVID-19 patients, prevent cross-contamination, disinfect areas touched by patients, maintain social distancing, and change personal protective equipment between patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2381-2390
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Volume246
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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