What can dentists do to protect themselves and patients?

Why dentistry is a risk branch?
The COVID-19 virus was recently identified in saliva of infected patients. Saliva can have a pivotal role in the human-to-human transmission. Dentists and other healthcare professionals that perform aerosol-generating procedures may be unknowingly providing direct care for infected but not yet diagnosed COVID-19 patients, or those considered to be suspected cases for surveillance.

Hand hygiene has been considered the most critical measure for reducing the risk of transmitting microorganism to patients (Larson et al. 2000). SARS-CoV-2 can persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on the type of surface, the temperature or the humidity of the environment (WHO 2020c). This reinforces the need for good hand hygiene and the importance of thorough disinfection of all surfaces within dental clinics. Every surface in the waiting room must be considered at risk;

The use of personal protective equipment (including masks, gloves, gowns and goggles or face shields) is recommended to protect skin and mucosa from (potentially) infected blood or secretions. As respiratory droplets are the main route of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, particulate respirators (e.g., N-95 masks authenticated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or FFP2-standard masks set by the European Union) are recommended for the routine dental practice.

The need to stop and the need for clear guidelines
On 15 March 2020, the New York Times published an article entitled “The Workers Who Face the Greatest Coronavirus Risk”, where an impressive schematic figure described that dentists are the workers most exposed to the risk of being affected by COVID-19.

dental extraoral aerosol suction system is designed for hospital dental clinic, a extraoral dental suction device configuration used aerosol precision higher HEAP filter and sterilization system, and can quickly filter the patients in the clinic process of droplet, aerosol, bacteria.

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