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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 139
Long COVID-19 and dental treatment

Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Submission01-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance01-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication22-Nov-2021

How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. Long COVID-19 and dental treatment. Indian J Dent Res 2021;32:139

How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. Long COVID-19 and dental treatment. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 8];32:139. Available from:

Sudden spread of COVID-19 disease and its variant caused a huge health emergency. As a result, a host of stringent measures were instituted by various governments. The oral health care was temporarily halted and resumed for emergency care, particularly the dental services. Later, the OMFS services resumed. The change in dentistry post-COVID-19 scenario and its resultant impact and caseload will have a long-term impact on dental patient care, education, and training during and after the pandemic.[1],[2]

The COVID-19-induced delay in dental care is now being increasing and vigorously compensated as the incidence of COVID-19 is in its lowest ebb in the recent past (as of writing this editorial). With the virus stabilizing and causing local surges, the dental service now face isolated cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 in the outpatient setting. While known cases can be isolated, asymptomatic cases and those in typical 'window period' goes unnoticed. This often is noted when the dental centre is later notified that a COVID-19 positive person had visited the facility very recently or when a patient who visits a hospital has symptoms of COVID-19, directly tested and confirmed as having COVID-19 infection. In both scenarios, which can happen at any time, dental treatment poses a risk to operating staff. Though strict universal precaution and COVID-19 appropriate health behavioural modification would help to prevent the transmission in dental setting, the risk of transmission exists, as oro-pharyngeal area is known to be highly colonized by the virus.[3],[4] Though these are theoretical in nature, the risk of transmission as shown in epidemiological studies is very low.[5]

Oral surgeons are concerned of the risk of aerosols associated with oral surgical hand piece. As compared to a regular dental hand piece, this has slower revolutions per minute in the range 40,000 RPM. Hence, this instrument would produce less splatter and droplets as compared to regular dental hand pieces. However, this minimum splatter and aerosols can be mitigated with COVID-19 specific infection control precautions.[4] Still dental hand pieces can be a risk for transmission. However, the overall risk from dental treatment is reported to be low.[5]

The long-term effects of COVID-19 are being increasingly reported.[6] Many of these are required to be treated with medications. Long-term use of medications may modulate and interact with dentistry-related medications. Hence, treating dentists needs to include the past infection of COVID-19 and its residual impact on health while taking history. Adequate knowledge and history taking may reveal hidden health issues that may complicate dental treatment. Every dentist needs to be alert to avoid such situations.

   References Top

Pu JJ, McGrath CP, Leung YY, Choi WS, Yang WF, Li KY, et al. The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on the disease pattern of oral and maxillofacial surgery inpatients: A comparative study. Front Med (Lausanne) 2021;8:613663. doi: 10.3389/fmed. 2021.613663.  Back to cited text no. 1
Thiem DGE, Polsak M, Römer P, Gielisch M, Blatt S, Al-Nawas B, et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dental-maxillofacial emergency service of a German university hospital in the year 2020. Clin Oral Investig 2021:1–11. doi: 10.1007/s00784-021-04010-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Seo JY, Lee ST, Choi SY, Kim JW, Kwon TG. Experience of patients diagnosed as asymptomatic COVID-19 after dental treatment. Maxillofac Plast Reconstr Surg 2021;43:30.  Back to cited text no. 3
Jones A, Wilson G. Can oral surgery be performed safely when COVID-19 status is unknown? Evid Based Dent 2021;22:74-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kwon TG. Maxillofacial surgery beyond the perfect storm of COVID-19. Maxillofac Plast Reconstr Surg 2021;43:7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lopez-Leon S, Wegman-Ostrosky T, Perelman C, Sepulveda R, Rebolledo PA, Cuapio A, et al. More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sci Rep 2021;11:16144.  Back to cited text no. 6

Correspondence Address:
S M Balaji
Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, 30, KB Dasan Road, Teynampet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijdr.IJDR_959_21

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