What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus infection has been considered by the WHO as a global pandemic. Since its origin it has posed a threat to world health, not so much because of its symptoms, but because of its rapid spread and contagion. Older patients and those with chronic underlying conditions suffer particularly from respiratory complications and thrombi.
It is transmitted through the air we exhale when we breathe, and the saliva we expel when we cough or sneeze, when we kiss or shake hands, even when we touch an object that is contaminated.
The incubation period is estimated at an average of 5-6 days, although it can be up to 14 days.
The population most at risk in terms of symptoms and complications are those over 70 years of age, although the population that acts as a vector of infection to the greatest extent are those between 25 and 30 years of age.
COVID-19 is an infection where most of the symptoms are felt in the chest and lungs. This is different from colds which cause congestion and runny nose. The clinical symptoms Typical symptoms are fever, cough and muscle pain. Less common symptoms were sputum production, headache, haemoptysis and diarrhoea.
Dentistry is one of the professional sectors most exposedThe rate of infection among dental professionals has been lower than among other healthcare specialties. Even so, the infection rate among dental professionals has been lower than among other healthcare specialties. Because of this increased risk, dentists and hygienists should wear personal protection such as masks, gloves, goggles and gowns, depending on the type of procedure they are going to perform.
How can we help and support each other in dentistry?
If a dental pathology appears, such as pain, broken teeth, infections or trauma, the patient should come to the surgery as soon as possible, where we will be ready to receive them.
- Patient assessmentThe dentist should ask a few questions, including over the phone, to rule out covid symptoms.
- Hand washing and hygiene: contact transmission is not the most common route of transmission for the covid virus. Even so, thorough surgical washing should be carried out to reduce this route of transmission as much as possible.
- Personal protective measures in the dental practice: consists of protective goggles, face shield, surgical cap, ffp2 mask, waterproof gowns and gloves. Some of this personal protective equipment is only advisable in cases of suspected covid or in procedures that will generate aerosols.
- Mouth rinses before the procedure: the virus is vulnerable to oxidation, so rinses with 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% povidone-iodine are advised. Chlorhexidine does not appear to be effective in neutralising coronavirus.
- Disinfection of the cabinet: we must disinfect the clinic and cabinets often after each patient as we may not know if they are positive or not.
- Sterilisation of instruments and equipment, now and forever:
The first step is to introduce the material into a disinfectant immediately after use. It shall then be transferred to the ultrasonic tankThe machine is operated at a high temperature for 5 minutes. This equipment transforms electrical energy into high-frequency waves and these in turn are converted into mechanical vibrations, making it possible to clean dirt from areas inaccessible by manual cleaning.
Finally, the instruments are carefully dried, bagged and sterilised in a sterilisation chamber. autoclave (with high temperature steam) which eliminates micro-organisms and spores.
–Ventilate both the cabinet and the waiting room as long as possible.
How can we prevent it in our daily lives?
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Use alcohol-based disinfectant, with concentration between 60-80%.
- Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing with your elbow.
- Avoid handshaking, kissing and hugging.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your mouth and nose.
- Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people.