Preparing for COVID-19: Everything a dentist should know

After spreading its footprints on the global map, Coronavirus has finally reached Pakistan. With over 304 cases reported, panic and restlessness among masses is evident. The major industry getting hit by this ‘pandemic’, includes hospital care, dentists being the easiest target for the highly contagious Coronavirus.

By Dr Muattar Hanif

With all this in backdrop, new recommendations have been notified by the Pakistan Association of Dental research to help the Pakistani dental community understand the situation. The guidelines focus on ways to deal with coronavirus thoroughly.

Heres an easy breakdown for the dental practitioners!

Always Remember!

  • Make sure to practice hand hygiene with antiseptic hand wash.
  • Avoid close contact and hand shaking.
  • Wear a disposable fluid resistant mask (FFP2 or N-95) covering mouth and nose.
  • Spread awareness to avoid un-necessary visit to dental clinics, only report in case of emergency.
  • Only concerned person should come and relatives should not accompany 

What to do when patient arrives?

  • Receive the patient in an isolated room established as pre-check triage.
  • Offer mask to patient if they are not wearing.
  • Dentist must be wearing PPE including disposable gowns, head cap, eye protection with solid side shields or face shield and well-fitting (FFP2 or N-95) mask.
  • Comprehensive medical history, travel history and family history must be taken. •
  • Examine vitals of patient: body temperature, pulse and breathing rate.
  • A pre examination mouth rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide.
  • Four handed dentistry (separate persons for examining and recording)

What if the patient HAS Coronavirus?

  • He/ she must be registered to designated hospital.
  • Ask him/her to get the test done and bring reports before dental treatment.
  • Keep the patient in isolated room to minimize risk of spreading the infection.
  • When patient leaves, room should be properly disinfected.

What if the patient is Coronavirus FREE?

  • Still take all the precautionary measures.
  • Identify the complaint of patient. Only Emergency dental procedures should be performed.

It is better to cater only emergency dental procedures during such times. As a dental practitioners it is our duty, to minimize the chances of spread of the viral disease,as much as possible.

March 19, 2020

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