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SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in 91.7% of saliva samples, indicating the importance of this fluid in the transmission of infection. Dental procedures generate saliva-contaminated spatters, droplets, and aerosols and methods to ameliorate transmission of virus in the dental clinic are crucial.
Patient screening, through recognition of symptoms or use of a saliva-based rapid screening test is a critical first step. In addition to standard PPE, during the COVID-19 pandemic, practitioners should also use protective outerwear, a surgical mask/N95 respirator, and shoe covers. Preprocedural mouth rinses can reduce salivary viral load. Extraoral, rather than intraoral imaging studies should be opted for. Rubber dams should be applied and used. Good ventilation and strict, regular surface disinfection with alcohol or chlorine disinfectants should take place.
– Laurie C. Carter, DDS, PhD
This abstract is available on the publisher's site.
SARS-CoV-2, a novel emerging coronavirus, has caused severe disease (COVID-19), and rapidly spread worldwide since the beginning of 2020. SARS-CoV-2 mainly spreads by coughing, sneezing, droplet inhalation, and contact. SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in saliva samples, making saliva a potential transmission route for COVID-19. The participants in dental practice confront a particular risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection due to close contact with the patients and potential exposure to saliva-contaminated droplets and aerosols generated during dental procedures. In addition, saliva-contaminated surfaces could lead to potential cross-infection. Hence, the control of saliva-related transmission in the dental clinic is critical, particularly in the epidemic period of COVID-19. Based on our experience of the COVID-19 epidemic, some protective measures that can help reduce the risk of saliva-related transmission are suggested, in order to avoid the potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 among patients, visitors, and dental practitioners.