Is it safe to visit a dental clinic and get dental procedures done during the covid-19 pandemic? A study conducted from May to July of 2020 says, Yes. The research conducted at Ohio’s State university shows that the risk that can arise with dental procedures during the pandemic is no greater than drinking a glass of water at the dentist’s office.
There have been many misbeliefs regarding the safety of dental procedures since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. SARS-CoV-2 majorly spreads through respiratory droplets, and the main entry points are the nose and the mouth. Dental procedures are known to produce aerosols predominantly due to the use of dental drills and ultrasonic scalers. At the beginning of the pandemic, the saliva was considered a dangerous source which created fear amongst people that the spittle flying around the dental clinic during cleaning or restorative procedures would make it a covid-19 transmission hotspot.
This created fears in the general public’s mind and prevented them from getting the dental treatment they need. These beliefs in the earlier stages of the pandemic also caused significant concerns in the dental community, because of which many dentists kept their clinics closed.
However, researchers from Ohio State University were determined to find out whether these concerns and fears had a solid ground. They conducted a study that was aimed at analyzing whether saliva is the primary source of aerosol.
Researchers from Ohio collected samples from dental practitioners, equipment and other areas where aerosol was expected to reach during the dental procedures.
Post sample collection, they began to analyze the genetic makeup of the organism found in the sample. This study revealed that the water coming out of the dental irrigation tools was the aerosol’s main component and not the saliva. Furthermore, the bacteria and viruses present in the sample were similar to those found in the dental office and the environment. An aerosol sampling of patients having low levels of SARS-Cov-2 was also done and tested. The results showed that the aerosol particles generated while operating on these patients had no signs of the coronavirus. The aerosol content was similar to the one usually found in the dental office.
It can now be said with confidence that regular teeth cleaning in the dental clinic do not increase the risk for covid-19 infection.
These findings proved vital for patients who needed dental treatments but were previously apprehensive because of the virus. In addition to this, many researchers around the world are now showing how poor oral hygiene affects the progression of the disease in a covid positive patient.
Brushing twice a day and regular flossing not only helps prevent dental diseases but also lowers the chances of catching covid and reduces the severity of the infection.
Patients who suffer from dental diseases and have poor oral hygiene practices are more susceptible to covid-19 and tend to have a severe infection. Patients with poor oral health and untreated dental diseases also seem to have a more extended recovery period. In contrast, people with good oral health and those who practice regular oral hygiene tend to have a lower infectivity rate and recover faster with lower complications.
Past studies and research have shown that aerosol during dental treatments settles on the dental provider’s face, patient chest and travels as far as 11 feet.
The study at Ohio State’s College of Dentistry enrolled 28 patients receiving dental implants and dental restorations. High-speed drills and ultrasonic scaling were used during these procedures as usual. Researchers took the dental irrigating solution samples and the patient’s saliva before and 30 minutes after the procedure. Aerosol samples from the dental provider’s face shield, patient’s chest drape, and an area 6 feet away from the chair were also collected.
Scientists used genomic sequencing to analyze these samples and saw the genetic makeup of the microbes present in the sample was similar to the ones usually present in the environment. Also, the primary source of aerosol produced was not the saliva but the irrigating solutions used in the clinic.
Dental treatments and checkups are now considered safe and necessary for the overall well-being of the patients. Getting your teeth cleaned or a cavity filled is as safe as it was before. Using an antiseptic mouth rinse before the dental procedure also lowers the viral load and kills the bacteria. These precautions also help prevent the covid-19 transmission and are being taken in our clinic. So, you can keep your worries aside and schedule your dental appointment with us today to ensure you stay at the top of your oral health.
DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.