Dental Tribune Europe
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has cast a renewed light on the importance of infection control routines, both in daily life and in the medical field. (Image: Mikael Zimmerman)

How to protect patients and personnel from COVID-19

By Dental Tribune International
November 18, 2020

Infection control and prevention measures commonly observed in the dental practice are safe and effective, but hygiene routines need to be known, understood and strictly observed by the whole dental office team—especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a free webinar, speakers Drs Mikael Zimmerman and Petteri Sjögren will summarise and explain the main aspects of these precautions with the purpose of shedding some light on key issues and explaining some crucial reasons for choosing them and methods of implementing them. Prior to their online presentation, Zimmerman, who is a leading expert in quality assurance, hygiene and infection control in dentistry, gave a brief preview of the topic.

Dr Zimmerman, clearly the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has greatly emphasised the importance of infection control routines. Do you feel that there was a lack of focus before?
No, we do not feel that there was a general lack of focus, but rather that COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of infection control and caused dental professionals to question their daily routines. Why do we do what we do? And are our routines adequate during a pandemic?

What were the biggest challenges for the dental team when it came to infection control before and what are they now, during the pandemic?
In our communities, we have regularly needed to handle several ongoing seasonal viruses and have even already handled pandemics. Infectious diseases have always been prevalent, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge is, as always, to stick to well-established hygiene routines and to avoid treating people who are not feeling well or have symptoms of illness. The answer is to be well organised in your work.

Groups at risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 are, in many respects, the same groups identified as being at risk for dental or oral diseases. It is therefore important to find alternative means of providing essential preventive dental care for these individuals. Postponed or neglected preventive oral care must be considered a potential cause of severe and acute oral conditions. In the current pandemic situation, all extra burdens on health services must be prevented.

What are the main learning objectives for those who will be watching your webinar?
The key learning objectives are understanding the most common sources of infection and how they spread, knowing why and when essential personal protective equipment is needed, and understanding how to triage and to assess patients for risk. Also, participants will gain an insight into antimicrobial resistance and will learn when and why to choose between different chemical disinfectants.

Editorial note: The webinar, titled “Common sense versus COVID-19 sense: Simple and effective precautions to protect patients, personnel and surroundings from infections”, will be presented live on Thursday, 26 November, at 12 p.m. GMT. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the topic, as well as earn a continuing education credit by answering a questionnaire after the lecture. Registration on the DirectaDentalGroup Campus website is free of charge.

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