Dentistry In The Time Of COVID-19

As the world starts to accept that life would have to be a new type of normal in the post COVID-19 world, dentistry will have to follow suit as well. We at PinkBlue, are working on a 3 part series of basic protocol that can be used as guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission and protect your patients, staff, family and yourself from the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This series is aimed at bringing the most relevant information from trusted sources to help the dental fraternity be better informed about the best practices during the COVID-19 crisis. It covers the critical elements of prevention of transmission as listed below:

Step 1 Risk Assessment
Step 2 Protective Gear
Step 3 Sterilization & Disinfection

These three activities, when followed as per recommendations, would greatly reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. This article provides a brief introduction to all three steps and a detailed explanation of step 1.

Step 1 – Risk Assessment:

Dentistry, a profession where almost 95% of all procedures produce aerosols, has a considerably high risk of transmission of the virus. This means that pre-operative assessment is highly critical for all patients seeking treatment.

We have put together a “COVID-19 Patient Risk Assessment Form” which is downloadable here.  Please use this form to capture critical information, which along with your clinical judgment, can help you recognize the risk levels among patients, and be prepared with the corresponding protective gear & disinfection protocol.

Temperature Reading:

It has been made clear that fever, along with fatigue and dry cough, is a hallmark of the infection.  Therefore, recording the patient’s temperature at the time of screening is an important step. Generally, any person with a body temperature above 37.5oC is considered to have a fever. This may vary based on factors such as age, level of physical activity, etc.

How to do it?

Conventional methods of measuring temperature, which mainly comprises of using liquid expansion thermometers, present a risk of possible cross-contamination. To mitigate this risk, the usage of Non-Contact Thermometers is recommended. These thermometers infer temperature from a portion of the thermal radiation sometimes called black-body radiation emitted by the object being measured. By knowing the amount of infrared energy emitted by the object and its emissivity, the object’s temperature can often be determined within a certain range of its actual temperature. This allows the screening personnel to record the patients’ temperatures from a distance, without having to establish contact.

With multiple companies entering the market with their IR Thermometers, it is significant that doctors check the certifications and standards that the product has been awarded before making the final purchase decision.

Please reach out to us at mktg@pinkblue.in in case of any specific queries that you might have. We will try addressing them in our upcoming blog posts.

Dr Surya Goutham

Author: Dr Surya Goutham

Dr. Surya Goutham is the Subject Matter Expert at PinkBlue.in. Being a dentist with an unending passion for learning, he works towards building a knowledge platform for all the dentists and dental students accross the country. Additionally, he is skilled at playing the guitar, singing, a few sports and referring to himself in the third person.