Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2021  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 139-

Long COVID-19 and dental treatment

SM 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, India

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

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

How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. Long COVID-19 and dental treatment. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 3 ];32:139-139
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Full Text

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.


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