Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Less than one percent of dentists nationwide were found to be COVID-19 positive, says a report published by The Journal of the American Dental Association. The researchers with the ADA Science and Research Institute and Health Policy Institute based in Chicago are continuing to collect and will report infection rate data on dentists and have added hygienists to their ongoing survey in collaboration with the American Dental Hygienists Association.
Dental Guidelines for practices related to COVID-19
The report - with the extremely low rate of COVID-19 infection among dentists, - supports the effectiveness of the recommendations from the CDC and ADA in preventing virus transmission. The ADA’s guidance calls for the highest level of personal protective equipment (PPE) available - masks, goggles and face shields. They also recommend the use of rubber dams and high velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling when cleaning teeth rather than using ultrasonic scaling to minimize aerosols.
The result is far below that of other health professionals in the U.S. In addition, 99 percent of dentists are using enhanced infection control procedures such as screening protocols and enhanced disinfection practices when treating patients.
The report - focusing on nearly 2,200 dentists - found that 82 percent were asymptomatic for one month prior to the survey and 16.6 percent reported getting a COVID-19 test. Those who tested positive were not clustered in any particular geographic region.
Among those not tested, less than one percent were given a probable COVID-19 diagnosis by a physician. The authors weighted the results to align with U.S. dentists demographically and geographically and found an estimated prevalence of less than one percent with a margin of error of 0.5 percent.
Dentists Complying With COVID-19 Safety Guidelines
“This is very good news for dentists and patients,” says American Dental Association (ADA) Science and Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Araujo, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., the senior author of the report. “This means that what dentists are doing – heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety – is working.
“Understanding the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission in the dental setting is critical to improving patient and dental team safety. This study brings us another step forward in understanding what works. Dentists are following ADA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, and it’s helping to keep the dental team and their patients as safe as possible.”
“The fact that dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection, but has a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions, is not a coincidence,” added Chief Economist and Vice President of the ADA Health Policy Institute Marko Vujicic, Ph.D. “The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows. We will continue to track the rate of COVID-19 among dentists and other facets of the pandemic affecting dentistry so it can help inform the dental profession and other industries as well.”
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.