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News / August 13, 2020

WHO urge for more research into COVID-19 transmission in dental settings

by Gaby Bissett

This week, the World Heath Organisation (WHO) spoke out to encourage more research into COVID-19 in dental settings

This week, the World Heath Organisation (WHO) spoke out to encourage more research into COVID-19 in dental settings.

According to a Reuters report, the organisation warns of the ‘unknown’ consequences of AGPs for both staff and patients.

Benoit Varenne said: ‘WHO guidance recommends in case of community transmission to give priority to urgent or emergency oral cases, to avoid or minimise procedures that may generate aerosol, prioritise a set of clinical interventions that are performed using an instrument and delay routine non-essential oral health care.

‘The likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosol, micro-particles or airborne particles … today I think is unknown. It’s open to question at least. This means that more research is needed.’

Essential PPE

He added: ‘We think that the most pressing issue is related to the availability of essential personal protective equipment, PPE, for all health care personnel undertaking or assisting in the clinical procedures.’

The health agency emphasised that all dental settings must have adequate ventilation in place to lower the risk of virus transmission.

Last month, the WHO released guidelines on COVID-19 transmission, which contained reference to certain reports regarding AGPs. But it did not confirm that COVID-19 could travel through air particles.

This comes as a dentist is highlighting the importance of breathing correctly to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Tim Ives has emphasised the importance of breathing through the nose in a bid to battle the virus

He said: ‘Identify your mouth breathing patients and inform them of the higher risk of infection versus nose breathing. This will also be an additional preventive service to your patient.’