In this pandemic situation, maintaining hygiene has become more essential than ever before. During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, dental professionals are considered one of the most vulnerable associations. Close contact with patients, exposure to bodily fluids, and the handling of sharp instruments all rise the risk of virus.
So, what can dentists do to keep dental practice and patients safe During Covid?
Hand washing and social distancing may be frequent but, for dental practitioners, it is crucial to take far more detailed precautions. According to research, it is because of the below three principal modes of virus spread, all of which are relevant to the dental practice:
- Airborne spread
- Contact spread
- Contaminated surface spread
Here’s a list of measures that’ll aid dental professionals to enforce, contribute, resolve your dental problems and prevent the outspread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Examine patients accurately
The first step is specifying suspected cases of COVID-19 to avert extended contact with an infected patient. Screen your patients using a quick questionnaire, take adequate steps based on the results, and the patient’s body temperature can go a long way. First of all, the body temperature of the patient should be recorded. It is strongly recommended that a contact-free forehead thermometer is used for this.
Reinforce hand hygiene
Although appropriate hand hygiene should already be a standard prerequisite, further reinforcement can assist mitigate the risk of viral outspread.
The study recommends following the below hand hygiene guidelines for dental professionals:
- Before examining the patient
- Before commencing any dental procedures
- After making physical contact with the patient
- After touching the surroundings and equipment that have not been disinfected
- After touching the oral mucosa, bruised skin or a wound, blood, bodily fluid, secretion or excreta.
Moreover, all staff should take extra care to avoid rubbing their own eyes, mouth and nose.
Seize personal protective measures.
Since airborne droplets are considered to be the significant path of infection to spread, the following three-level defensive measures are recommended:
- Standard protection for staff in clinical settings: Disposable working caps, surgical masks and working clothes (white coat), protective goggles or face shields, and disposable latex or nitrile gloves.
- Advanced protection for dental professionals: Additional disposable isolation clothing or surgical clothes overworking clothes in addition to standard protection.
- Strengthened protection for being in contact with patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19: If this does occur, and you cannot avoid close contact, distinct protective outerwear is expected. If not available, working clothes with extra disposable protective clothing over them and impermeable shoe coverings should be added to what has already been listed.
Consider a mouth rinse before dental treatments.
Since SARS-CoV-2 is susceptible to oxidation, preprocedural mouthwash containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% povidone-iodine is advised to lessen the salivary load of oral microbes. It includes potential SARS-CoV-2 carriage. Furthermore, recent studies show that cyclodextrins—broad-spectrum antivirals—show promise for combating viruses. A preprocedural mouth rinse would, therefore, be most helpful.
Sterilize the clinic
While dental practitioners might be doing the best for their patients and dental clinic, therefore, to prevent the outspread, they should take practical and strict disinfection measures in both clinical settings and waiting areas. The clinic should be cleaned and sterilized regularly by following accessible safety protocols, as should the public areas and appliances, including door handles, chairs, desks and lifts.
While none of these protections can stave off or resolve COVID-19 on their own, all of them can contribute to keeping dental practice, staff and patients safer and healthier.
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