What is Coronavirus | Precautions for Dentists and Patients


COVID-19 is an infectious condition which gets transmitted from one person to other, directly or indirectly. This condition mainly attacks the upper respiratory tract (involving the nose, throat, airways, lungs). It is caused by a recently discovered virus, called coronavirus, also known as novel coronavirus

Here are the answers to the most common queries about COVID-19 based on the information given by various experts from reputed institutes:

The mortality rate ranges between 2-3%, the risks being higher in older people (above the age of 60yrs) and having pre-existing health issues.

Will a person lose his life, if he/she gets infected?

Timely medical care will help a person get free of the infection. Almost 80 per cent of the infected individuals have recovered from this disease.

How does the coronavirus spread?

An infected person can spread this infection to a healthy person via droplets produced by coughing or sneezing. The transmission may be through eyes, nose and mouth. Close contact with an infected person or contaminated surface can lead to the contraction of this disease.

What are the symptoms? How do we take care of the symptoms?

Coronavirus can get you symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath + any of the following:

1) Travel history to a coronavirus affected area (like China, Iran, Italy, etc.)

2) Contact with an infected person

3) Contact with a health care professional treating the disease.

These symptoms can be taken care as follows:

1) Inhaling steam 2 to 3 times a day to clear off the congestion

2) Stay hydrated

3) Take adequate rest

4) Wash your hands frequently

5) Visit a doctor if the condition worsens or does not get better with time

6) Take medicines as and when advised by the doctor


What type of mask should one wear to protect against the corona virus?

The three-layered disposable surgical masks are good enough to contain the virus.

Steps to protect from Coronavirus / COVID-19

1) Protect yourselves:

a) Regularly wash your hands with soap and water

b) Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer handy for use

c) Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unclean hands

d) Keep atleast one-meter distance from a person coughing or sneezing


2) Protect others:

a) Don’t travel or visit public places if you are unwell

b) Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing

c) Wear a mask if you are unwell

d) If you have fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, you should stay indoors. Health care professionals should be called for advise.

Information for patients

If you have scheduled an appointment with a dental health care professional such as an examination, cleaning or filling, the appointment needs to be cancelled or rescheduled to a further date

It would be best if you visited a dentist only to address some urgent help like:

1) Severe toothache

2) Swelling of gum, face or neck

3)  Bleeding in the mouth that does not stop

4) Infection

5) Trauma

Information for dental health care professionals

Some steps, as proposed by the American Dental Association, can help prevent transmission of the disease in their offices, in addition to standard precautions, include

1) Screening patients for travel and signs and symptoms of infection when they update their medical histories.

2) Taking temperature readings as part of their routine assessment of patients before performing dental procedures.

3) Making sure the personal protective equipment they use is appropriate for the procedures being performed.

4) Using a rubber dam when necessary to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.

5) Using rapid evacuation for dental procedures producing an aerosol.

6) Autoclaving handpieces after each patient.

7) Having patients rinse with a 1% hydrogen peroxide solution before each appointment.

8) Cleaning and disinfecting public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs and bathrooms.

Also, the health care professional should undertake certain precautions such as the use of eye protection like goggles or face shield when caring for patients. These precautions also include the use of N95 respirators, gowns, gloves, face shield/ eye protection etc.

Also, screening of patients for the coronavirus disease when confirming appointments or when they arrive for treatment could include the following:

1) Whether they have travelled in the last 14 days

2) Whether they have come in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is under investigation for COVID-19 or coronavirus

3) Whether they have a cough, fever or shortness of breath.

Patients who answer yes to these questions should be encouraged to contact their primary physician or public health department as soon as possible to find out if they should be seen or tested. If dentists suspect a patient has COVID-19, they should contact their local or state health department immediately. They should do the same if a staff member is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.

Dentists may consider postponing non- emergency or elective dental procedures until a patient is no longer contagious with diseases that can be transmitted through airborne, droplet or contact transmission.

With the coronavirus disease now deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the American Dental Association updated its webpage on the coronavirus disease on March 11, ’20 to include a link to frequently asked questions from member dentists covering topics such as personal protective equipment and patient communication

Source for this article – American Dental Association

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