The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure or reduction of dental services across the world. Now, attention is focused on planning the re-opening and restructuring of dental services.
To support decision making, a group led by Professors Jan Clarkson and Craig Ramsay conducted an overview of internationally produced guidance for re-opening dental services.
The review group comprised researchers and clinicians from a range of UK institutions including the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme, NHS Education for Scotland, the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Manchester, and Cochrane Oral Health.
Professor Clarkson explained, “There is now an urgent need to map out how dental services are to return to providing wider patient care. Given that we have only really known about COVID-19 for about 120 days, robust evidence to inform how to approach re-opening is scarce or non-existent.
The same concerns exist across the world and therefore we decided to formally review the recommendations being produced in different countries as a resource for decision makers.”
Professor Ramsay added, “We identified sources from eleven countries and found relevant recommendations fell into five themes: practice preparation, personal protective equipment, management of the clinical area, dental procedures, and cleaning and disinfection. The review collates the range of recommendations related to each theme from the various sources identified. I would like to stress that this review is not guidance but, in the absence of robust evidence, it should assist policy and decision makers in producing national guidance for their own settings.”
Jan Clarkson added “Conducting this overview has been a hugely collaborative international effort and I am extremely grateful to all those involved for working so hard to complete it in such short time.”