The COVID-19 pandemic has become a worldwide, significant public health challenge. Dental care providers are at high risk due to the nature of their profession, which necessitates close proximity to the patient's oropharyngeal region and the use of droplet and aerosol-generating procedures.
A review of the evolving literature on the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted. Published articles addressing SARS-CoV2 transmission modes and risks, and infection control procedures required in the dental office to protect dental patients and health care providers were assessed. Also, clinical guidelines on the management of dental patients during the pandemic were reviewed.
The established modes of transmission of SARS-CoV2 appear to be through respiratory droplets and through close contact with either symptomatic or asymptomatic patients. In addition to standard precautions of infection control widely followed in dental practices, extra precautionary measures are needed to control the spread of this highly infectious disease. Dental treatment during the pandemic is limited to emergent and urgent cases after a meticulous patient risk assessment and dental needs are triaged to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and avoid cross-contamination.
Dentists should be aware of the recently updated knowledge about COVID-19 modes of transmission and the recommended infection control measures in dental settings. Effective management protocols to regulate droplet and aerosol contamination in the dental clinic should be implemented to deliver dental care in a safe environment.
Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019, Dentistry, Dental clinical guidelines, Infection control, Personal protective equipment, Aerosol.