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While recommendations for the safe return to dental practice have been issued and promulgated by the CDC and ADA, guidelines are limited with regards to radiography. This article, written by leaders in the oral and maxillofacial radiology community, provides detailed guidance to reduce the risk of disease transmission during radiographic procedures, and is accompanied by a flowchart for use in dental practices. Strict adherence to selection criteria for radiographic orders is stressed; prescription of every radiograph must arise from a specific clinical indication.
Gagging and coughing during intraoral radiographic procedures is a potential source of aerosol generation, perturbed most frequently in the maxillary molar areas. The utility and limitations of the judicious use of dental panoramic radiographs, extraoral bitewing imaging, and focused or small field-of-view cone beam computed tomography as alternatives to intraoral radiography are discussed. Finally, guidance is provided on post imaging-room cleaning, including concerns inherent to digital dental intraoral radiographic equipment, and alternative methods of sterilization.
– Laurie C. Carter, DDS, PhD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, is not only highly infectious but can induce serious outcomes in vulnerable individuals including dental patients and dental health care personnel (DHCPs). Responses to COVID-19 have been published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association, but a more specific response is required for the safe practice of oral and maxillofacial radiology. We aim to review the current knowledge of how the disease threatens patients and DHCPs and how to determine which patients are likely to be SARS-CoV-2 infected; consider how the use of personal protective equipment and infection control measures based on current best practices and science can reduce the risk of disease transmission during radiologic procedures; and examine how intraoral radiography, with its potentially greater risk of spreading the disease, might be replaced by extraoral radiographic techniques for certain diagnostic tasks. This is complemented by a flowchart that can be displayed in all dental offices.