The declaration of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, resulted in several dental care facilities in affected countries being completely closed or only providing minimal treatment for emergency cases. However, a number of these facilities are still providing regular dental treatment. In a way this has been the outcome of a lack of universal protocol or guidelines regulating dental care provision during such a pandemic. This absence of guidelines leads to an increase in the nosocomial COVID-19 spread via dental health care facilities, as well as rob patients’ who are in need of the required urgent dental care. To add to this, terminating dental care during this period will add to the burden on hospital emergency departments that are already battling the pandemic.
The recommendations for dental care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic were developed after an in-depth understanding of the nature of the virus, and were based on grouping the patients according to their condition and need. The risk and benefits of the procedures were also taken into consideration before finalising anything. Dentists are strongly recommended to adhere to the guidelines and recommendations issued by the government and dental associations of the region. The use of standard COVID-19 precautions within the workplace and establishing a thorough history of symptoms and potential exposure for patients is essential for dental professionals to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.
It is important to check their temperatures and oxygen levels as a basic criteria to enter the clinic. Using finger pulse oximeter and IR thermometers is the safest way to go about these tests. You can easily acquire these and various other medical equipment on Smart Medical Buyer.
Infection controls for dental practice
Some of the key aspects of COVID-19 that the dentists need to be aware of include:
- How the virus is spread,
- How to identify individual who are infected with the virus
- What are the protective measures that dentists need to adopt during daily practice to prevent the transmission of the virus
These infection control measures should be strictly followed by dental professionals, mainly because droplets of saliva and mucus are the main routes of transmission of COVID-19.
- Dentists should be able to recognize a suspected case of COVID-19 and not treat those individuals. They should not be allowed to enter the premises or come in touch with any surface or other patients. They should be quarantined immediately.
- Test the body temperature of every patient who enters the premises. A contact-free forehead thermometer is strongly recommended for the screening. You can obtain IR thermometers from SMB. They provides medical equipment and supplies such as Heine mini 3000 otoscope at the lowest prices online.
- A questionnaire can be devised to screen patients before they are led to the dental chair. This questionnaire should be saved and maintained in patient records.
Emphasis on proper hand hygiene cannot be stressed enough. Oral care professionals, in particular, should regularly wash their hands with soap or disinfect the hands with alcohol-based sanitizers. Considering the nature of the virus, dentists should wash their hands at the following times:
- before a patient examination
- before dental procedures
- after touching the patient
- after touching the surroundings and equipment without disinfection, and
- after touching the oral mucosa, damaged skin or wound, blood, body fluid, secretion, and excreta
- More caution should be taken for dental professionals to avoid touching their own eyes, mouth, and nose
Use of personal protective equipment
Airborne droplet transmission is the main route of the spread of the coronavirus and hence dental clinics and hospitals are required to maintain extremely strict procedures and use of personal protective equipment including eyewear, masks, gloves, face shield, caps and outerwear.
As we move towards relaxation of rules and the phase of unlock beginning in various parts of the country, it is vital to pay attention to the guidelines and follow strict protocol. Cases of coronavirus are still prevalent and spreading throughout the nation, hence dental clinic practitioners need to be extra careful as they tend to patients.