In a study recently published by The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), less than one percent of participating dentists had become infected with Covid-19 through June 2020. There were 2,195 participating dentists, out of which only 20 had confirmed or probably Covid-19 diagnosis.
Dr. Marcelo Araujo, the chief science officer of the ADA. said, “This is very good news for dentists and patients.” “It means that what dentists are doing – heightened infection control and increased attention to patient and dental team safety – is working.”
In March, The New York Times listed Dentistry as one of the professions at highest-risk of the novel coronavirus infection. In light of the study, the vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., said, “The fact that dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection, but has a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions, is not a coincidence. The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows.”
Guidelines from both the ADA and CDC promote the highest level of personal protective equipment available, including masks, goggles and face shields. To reduce the amount of aerosols, the ADA recommends rubber dams and high velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth.
Some other findings in the study were that over 1/3 of the dentists reported (at least mild) psychological distress, almost 10% reported symptoms of depression, with almost 20% reporting symptoms of anxiety. About 1/4 of them had at least one medical condition associated with a higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
The groups that the FDA states “may be” at a greater risk of negative health effects are:
Pregnant women and their developing fetuses;
Women who are planning to become pregnant;
Nursing women and their newborns and infants;
Children, especially those younger than six years of age;
People with pre-existing neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease
People with impaired kidney function; and
People with known heightened sensitivity (allergy) to mercury or other components of dental amalgam.
Although the FDA defines these groups as ‘maybe’ having a higher-risk of negative health effects from dental amalgam, they don’t appear to provide any new evidence of this being the case. In fact, after the FDA released their statement, the ADA (American Dental Association) released their own press release reaffirming its position on dental amalgam.
The ADA’s press release did acknowledge that they agreed with the FDA’s recommendation of the patient discussing all treatment options with their dental provider, but pointed out that there is “little to no information” on whether or not anyone in these specific groups were at greater risk of negative health effects from the use of dental amalgam. The ADA stands by their assessment that “dental amalgam is a durable, safe and effective cavity-filling option.
Let us consider the profession. Dentists come in many different forms: cosmetic dentists, prosthodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, endodontists, general practitioners, oral surgeons, implantologists, paediatric dentists and others. It is difficult for the public to differentiate one from the other, and moreover, a general practitioner (GP) can perform most dental procedures if well trained. Let us look at it this way: when a patient goes to the hospital, he or she is directed to a specialist in the part of the body that has the problem. That specialist is usually highly trained and has the resources in his or her department to treat that part of the body. You will never see a medical GP operating on a patient’s heart or an orthopaedic surgeon operating on a patient’s brain.
Like the body, the oral cavity should be seen as consisting of parts: hard tissue, soft tissue, nerves, bone, teeth, mechanics and muscles. A myriad of problems can occur in the oral cavity. You can have biological issues such as infections, mechanical issues such as fractures or abrasions, and of course, your teeth create one of the most important things connected to our emotions: the smile. So why should we expect a GP to solve all these problems?
Apparently there are some people who’ve taken to the social media platform, TikTok, and posting videos of themselves using a fingernail file to grind down their own teeth. One girl who had a chipped tooth filed down her two front teeth so that the lengths were the same. The tooth filing-trend started gaining so much attention that dental hygiene professionals began responded in an effort to debunk them.
There’s no doubt that some of these TikTok users should leave the dental work to professionals. Although some appear to be doing it as a joke there are several who are grinding off some parts of their permanent teeth. Doing this could leave some of these social media socialites with irreparable damage and tremendous pain.
According to a recent report by market intelligence group CONTEXT, dentistry makes up over one fifth of the end market for professional polymer 3D printers (5,000 USD upwards). The accessibility of desktop machines and the resolution of resin-based technologies have earned additive a solid user base in the dental community. It’s why early on in the fight against COVID-19, we saw a UK based network of 13,000 dentists with access to 3D printers – thought to be one of the largest concentration of machines outside of the engineering sector – rally together to apply its temporarily redundant resources for the production of PPE.
So, with the dental 3D printing market poised to reach 9.5 billion USD by 2027, it’s no surprise that 3D printer manufacturers are investing heavily in this area, whether through dedicated business units or partnerships with device manufacturers.
Applications for 3D printers in the dental lab or office are extensive. “We print implant models, crown and bridge models, all that fun stuff,” Oscar Buenrostro, Model Shop, Milling & 3D Printing Supervisor for California-based dental solutions provider DenMat, recently told TCT. “We use it for pretty much every product we have in the lab.”
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend the wearing of masks while in public to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. But you may be experiencing some negative side effects from wearing a face mask for an extended period of time.
“Wearing a mask is not new for dental and medical professionals; however, the extended wear time is. And with supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) low in some regions, many healthcare providers are keeping the same mask on instead of donning a new one after each patient, further extending the wear time of masks.2
In one study, nurses were tested and surveyed while wearing their masks over the course of two 12-hour shifts.3 Over the two days, 22% of the nurses removed their masks at some point due to discomfort and a perceived shortness of air with complaints of headaches and lightheadedness as well.
More recently, a study was conducted specifically related to headaches and their association with PPE such as N95 masks and protective eyewear.4 This study found that out of 128 participants with no preexisting headache condition, 81% reported PPE-associated headaches. Additionally, out of the 46 participants with a pre-existing headache diagnosis, 91.3% reported an exacerbation of their headache condition after the extended use of PPE.
Headaches can be a symptom of dehydration.5 Extended mask wearing may inhibit the consumption of enough fluids throughout the day. This could, in turn, lead to xerostomia, which opens the door for potential oral complications.
Xerostomia has been associated with an increased risk of caries, fungal infections, oral malodor, and periodontal diseases,6 which may be why we have started hearing the phrase “mask mouth.” Since masks are now required in many public settings, we need to discuss these potential complications with our patients, as they too are wearing masks for extended periods. Combatting xerostomia as a side effect of mask usage can be as simple as reminding our patients to drink enough water throughout the day. Additionally, chewing gum with xylitol can help stimulate salivary flow and prevent caries.7″
In addition to headaches and dehydration, some say that wearing the PPE for an extensive amount of time can lead to difficulty breathing, profuse sweating and skin irritation.
“Some dental professionals are facing a new set of challenges from wearing additional personal protective equipment as they adapt to providing care in the COVID-19 era.
A recent survey of more than 2,500 dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and business administrators on the impact of current PPE protocols found that dental professionals of all ages are experiencing increased levels of physical and emotional discomfort since resuming routine care.
Dental professionals who are now wearing multiple layers at one time, including a surgical mask, face shield and respirator mask, have also reported challenges with breathing. According to the survey, participants said they are having a hard time breathing nearly 50% of the time while wearing the current recommended respiratory PPE.
Dental professionals are also wearing their PPE for an extensive amount of time, which can lead to profuse sweating — another side effect that was reported among more than half of survey participants. According to an article in Dentistry IQ, 62% of health care workers report only removing their PPE during their lunch break, while another 7% say they never remove their PPE during their entire work shifts.
If you’re experiencing more breakouts and irritation on your face lately, you’re not alone. In the survey, 43% of respondents reported an increase in facial acne while another 35% reported facial skin soreness due to face masks. The constant rubbing of the masks against the skin causes micro-tears, allowing easier entry for bacteria and dirt to clog the pores.
Health care workers are most at risk because their masks are tighter-fitting and workers are wearing them longer. According to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in May, at least 83% of health care workers in Hubei, China, suffered skin problems on their face due to enhanced infection-control measures.”
To combat some of the side effects of prolonged mask usage, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you remain hydrated throughout the day, it is less likely you will experience dry mouth, bad breath and headaches.
If you’re experiencing skin irritation, experts recommend simplifying your skin care routine and using a gentle non-soap cleanser and a mild, fragrance-free moisturizer. It is also advised to avoid thick skin care creams and opt for a more lightweight water-based product to wear underneath your mask.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a statement saying that they “respectfully yet strongly disagree with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to delay “routine” dental care in certain situations due to COVID-19″
“WHO advises that routine non-essential oral health care – which usually includes oral health check-ups, dental cleanings and preventive care – be delayed until there has been sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates from community transmission to cluster cases or according to official recommendations at national, sub-national or local level. The same applies to aesthetic dental treatments.”
The ADA has taken issue with the WHO’s definition of “non-essential oral health care,” with the the association’s president, Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S., stating:
“Oral health is integral to overall health — staying well depends on having access to health care, which includes dental treatment.”
“Dentistry is essential health care because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.”
Would you like to know when cases get delivered to your customers, the name of the person who accepts those cases and be able to capture their signature? Would you like for your drivers to have access to real-time deliveries and pickups, including any pickup/delivery notes?
ABS has developed the EvoDRIVER Mobile Application so that the local delivery drivers for your lab can see all pending deliveries and pickups on their route. Those drivers also have the ability to get notified whenever a delivery or pickup is added from EvoDATA. The driver can enter notes, flag the deliveries as “complete,” and even get the recipient’s signature. With Evolution Dental Lab Management Software, qualified Users at the lab can manage their drivers’ routes and see updated statuses and information for those cases. ALL IN REAL-TIME!
A technician’s ability to be productive is a major key to a dental lab’s success. Atlanta Based Systems, through our lab management software, Evolution, has offered EvoTOUCH and EvoBARCODE as a way for technicians to move cases through production.
Now we would like to introduce the EvoTECH mobile application; our newest addition for technicians to be able to access case information and record their productivity. The app can be downloaded on any iOS or Android device directly through the app stores.
The EvoTECH App continues the innovative tradition of Atlanta Based Systems as a way for cases to continue to flow through the production process by giving technicians the ability to have case information right at their fingertips; therefore, helping to increase productivity.
A dental lab manager’s job can be very frustrating at times. Especially when he or she does not have a point of reference for what is happening on their watch. Well, if you are using ABS’ Evolution dental lab management software, that point of reference is here. Atlanta Based Systems is excited to announce the “EvoMGR” mobile application.
This mobile app is designed for tablets (only). It is intended to be the dental lab Production Manager’s right-hand man – a digital production management assistant to help the user see REAL-TIME employee productivity. If you want a happy, informed, and organized dental lab manager, this is the tool for them. It will give them the ability to find out priceless information about any case in production anywhere in the lab. All you need is ABS’ Evolution with the EvoMGR App, an iPad or Android tablet, and a wi-fi connection to your lab’s computer network.