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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is difficult for medical professionals to operate in the hospitals, especially protecting themselves and the patients from contracting viruses. However, the doctors and staff can take some precautionary steps to help keep them safe and give better treatment to patients at the same time.
Below are the few tips to take necessary precautions:
1 Prior appointment
Before reaching the clinic for a dental problem, the patient must take the prior appointment on the phone call with a reputable dental clinic. He or she should state their issue on the phone call itself. The staff should ask the patient about COVID symptoms before confirming their appointment.
Suppose the patient has a problem which is curable with essential medicines and doesn't require physical treatment. In that case, the dentist should avail a video consultation to the patient.
To enable social distancing, the dentists should allow only a few patients at specific slots and ensure safe distance seating arrangements.
When patients arrive at the clinic, they should be asked about the basic questions like any travel history, health problems related to COVID symptoms like cough, weakness, nausea, fever or sore throat and accordingly treatment should be processed.
The patient should also be asked about meeting someone who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 or any patient under investigation.
On the arrival of the patient, their hands should also be sanitized, and they should be screened by non-contact forehead thermometer or camera having a thermal sensor. If someone is found with high temperature, they should be declined the entry and should be asked to quarantine themselves or contact COVID care centre.
3 Self-protection and Infection control measure
To lessen the threat of contracting virus, the dentist should wear PPE suit or hazmat suit, which is worn on the cloth and act as the second suit that isolates the body from surrounding air. PPE and masks are necessary safety tools while treating the patient, to reduce the chances of spreading coronavirus.
Even for patients- wearing a mask is mandatory until the treatment starts. If the staff see that the patient is not wearing the mask, then they should not permit the patient to enter the premises. When the dentist starts operating, the patients are forced to remove the mask for the dentistry process; however, the dentists should continue wearing all the protective layers. a dentist must wear a disposable face mask with non-sterile gloves, head cap, gown and eyewear while treating any patient.
4 Disinfecting should be prior protocol
This is one of the most important factors which play a major role in controlling the spread of the virus. It builds trust in patients by making them feel safe.
Below are the disinfecting methods:
The patients' waiting room should be thoroughly disinfected every few hours. Also, the seating arrangements should be made in a way that abides by the proper social distance norm between the patients. Also, the waiting room should be well ventilated to avoid the spread of the virus.
The treatment room with dental treatment equipment used by the dentist should also be thoroughly disinfected. Equipment like dental loupes, spoon excavator, scaler, dental drill, dental headlight and suction device should be appropriately disinfected as there are more chances of contracting virus from them because most of the equipment is used in close contact with the patient mouth.
Moreover, this virus is an airborne disease, so the PPE suit, masks other equipment should be sanitized before starting to treat patients.
5 Postpone elective dental procedure
As per the CDCs guideline for infection control in dental healthcare in 2003, a dentist can avoid some of the elective dental procedure until the patient becomes non-contagious with the airborne transmitted disease. Suppose if emergency cases like severe tooth pain, oral swelling, uncontrolled bleeding or tooth fracture arise. In that case, the dental surgeon can work on the case only with the help of medical health care providers and can plan and execute the treatment.
6 Pharmacological management
If a patient is COVID-19 positive and requires emergency dental care for tooth pain or swelling analgesics, medicine can be given as an alternative for relief. It will provide some duration to plan the treatment with an appropriate and preventive measure to avoid the spread of the virus. In such emergency cases, use of disposable dental equipment is mandatory to prevent cross-contamination. Also, the suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are only treated in negative pressure rooms or airborne infection isolation rooms and should not follow the routine dental practice settings. Use of rubber dams is mandatory to minimize the splatter generation, especially for non-surgical endodontic treatment. Use of equipment that generates higher aerosol content like an ultrasonic instrument, high-speed handpieces and three-way syringes need to be avoided in this type of cases.
Prevention is better than cure-yes, that's right, taking a few safety measures and following the government guidelines will help the human race to defeat coronavirus.
Let's break the chain!