These are unprecedented times, and a global pandemic of an infectious disease poses particular challenges for dentistry and oral care. Which treatments can dentists and other members of the oral care team safely provide to clients? Should dental clinics be investing in new equipment? What measures need to be in place before resuming aerosol-generating procedures? What personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to protect staff, clientele, and members of the public?
Cochrane Oral Health are responding in the following ways, to help the dental community find a path through the evidence:
1. Making COVID-19 resources for the dental oral and care team available on our website. We are collecting guidance from professional bodies around the world, including our partners in the Global Evidence Ecosystem for Oral Health (GEEOH). On our page, you can also find general guidance from bodies such as WHO and Public Health England, and details of Cochrane’s response, which includes rapid reviews and evidence collections.
2. We have published Recommendations for the re-opening of dental services: a rapid review of international sources. The project is the result of a collaboration between Cochrane Oral Health, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme, NHS Education for Scotland and the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, and Manchester. This review of the guidance from around the world was undertaken and completed in just seven days. The key messages are available on our website here. To date, the review has been accessed over 30,000 times.
3. Working with academic researchers across the UK and Cochrane colleagues, we have published a commentary on Cochrane’s review on PPE, which highlights which aspects of the review may be relevant for dental clinics and practices.
4. We are collaborating with our Cochrane colleagues from Cochrane ENT to produce three rapid reviews:
- Antimicrobial mouthwashes (gargling) and nasal sprays administered to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection to improve patient outcomes and to protect healthcare workers treating them
- Antimicrobial mouthwashes (gargling) and nasal sprays to protect healthcare workers when undertaking aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) on patients without suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection
- Use of antimicrobial mouthwashes (gargling) and nasal sprays by healthcare workers to protect them when treating patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection
The protocols have been published this week, and we are aiming to complete these important reviews as soon as possible.
5. We have registered a new title with an experienced, established author team based in Malaysia and led by our editor Sumanth Kumbargere Nagraj: Interventions to reduce contaminated aerosols produced during dental procedures for preventing infectious diseases. We are intending to undertake this as a rapid review, so we can make the results available as soon as we can.
If you are aware of guidance that doesn’t yet appear on our website, or has not been considered in the rapid review of recommendations for re-opening dental services, get in touch with us and let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.