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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 35-36

COVID-19 and its impact on dentistry

Medical Officer (Dental), Directorate of Health Services, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission09-Jul-2020
Date of Decision14-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication22-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Gulam Anwar Naviwala
Arogya Bhavan, St. George's Hospital Compound, P. DfMello Road, Mumbai - 400 001, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/dmr.dmr_48_20

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How to cite this article:
Naviwala GA. COVID-19 and its impact on dentistry. Dent Med Res 2020;8:35-6

How to cite this URL:
Naviwala GA. COVID-19 and its impact on dentistry. Dent Med Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jul 23];8:35-6. Available from: https://www.dmrjournal.org/text.asp?2020/8/2/35/295871

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, has evolved rapidly into a public health crisis and has spread exponentially to other parts of the world.[1],[2] The novel newly identified single-stranded coronavirus belongs to a family of single-stranded RNA viruses known as Coronaviridae.[3] This family of viruses is known to be zoonotic and is transmitted initially from animals to humans. These viruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), first identified in 2002, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was first identified in 2012.[4]

This novel SARS-CoV-2 virus has a widespread and rampant transmission, and its spread to health-care providers has been reported.[4],[5] Dental professionals, including dentists and dental nurses, are at high risk for nosocomial infection and can become potential carriers of SARS-CoV-2. Normal dental procedures by nature are unique in the generation of aerosols, proximity to the patients' oropharynx, and handling of sharps. They could be of additional risks for spread of SARS-CoV-2 to dental health professionals. Besides, if adequate precautions are not taken, the dental office can potentially expose patients to cross-contamination.

The COVID-19 patients present classically with clinical symptoms of dry cough, fever, and myalgia. Moreover, less obvious symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, reduced sense of smell (hyposmia), and abnormal taste sensation (dysgeusia) have also been reported.[6] Further, chest radiographs and computed tomographs have shown abnormalities such as ground-glass opacities in the chest.[7] Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of these patients show only mild symptoms which have a resemblance to flu-like symptoms and seasonal allergies, leading to an increased number of undiagnosed cases.[8] These asymptomatic patients can act as “carriers” and exist as unknown cenotes and can lead to the reemergence of new cases in a given population. SARS-CoV-2 is also known to be highly transmissible in symptomatic patients; however, it is noteworthy that the incubation period ranges from 0 to 24 days. Therefore, transmission can occur before any symptoms are apparent.[7],[9] The severe forms of this disease have shown to have a gender predilection toward males, especially with a mean age of 56 years and preexisting chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease or immunosuppression. The high-risk patient population manifests symptoms typical of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome.[7]

Dentistry is facing its darkest hour, with the growth and spread of this pandemic. Dental surgeons are among the highest risk of contracting and transmitting the SARS-CoV-2, alongside paramedics, nurses, and other health-care workers. India declared its first complete lockdown from March 25, 2020, 00.00 am. Since then, dental clinics across the country have been shut for more than 2 months. With the pandemic still on the growth curve and showing little signs of decline, the hope of reviving dentistry anytime soon is bleak. This sad state is compounded by current zero earnings by dental practitioners and staff at clinics and continued overhead costs.

COVID-19 has had a crippling impact on the dental industry and has brought it to a grinding halt. It is difficult to ascertain the extent and severity of its long-term implications at this point. The professional future of dental professionals and the sustenance of their practices is a serious concern. Salaries and clinic rentals have to be accounted for every month even though there have been no revenues, causing a substantial socioeconomic impact.

In these times of hardship and sorrow, I take this opportunity to request all my dental colleagues across the world to hang in there, as good times are ahead. Nothing lasts forever. We will emerge from this crisis stronger and resilient than ever.

  References Top

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transmission of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/about/transmission.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
Dong E, Du H, Gardner L. An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time. Lancet Infect Dis 2020;20:533-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Gorbalenya AE, Baker SC, Baric RS, et al. The species severe acute respiratory syndromerelated coronavirus: Classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2. Nat Microbiol 2020;5:536-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
Wax RS, Christian MD. Practical recommendations for critical care and anesthesiology teams caring for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) patients. Can J Anaesth 2020;67:568-76.  Back to cited text no. 4
Lan L, Xu D, Ye G, Xia C, Wang S, Li Y, et al. Positive RT-PCR test results in patients recovered from COVID-19. JAMA 2020;323:1502-3.  Back to cited text no. 5
Giacomelli A, Laura Pezzati L, Conti F, Bernacchia D, Siano M, Oreni L, et al. Self-reported olfactory and taste disorders in SARSCoV-2 patients: A cross-sectional study. Clin Infect Dis 2020;71:889-90.  Back to cited text no. 6
Guan W, Ni Z, Hu Y, Liang W, Ou C, He J, et al. Clinical characteristics of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in China. medRxiv. Available from: https://www. medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.06.20020974v1. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 15].  Back to cited text no. 7
Wu Z, McGoogan JM. Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China: Summary of a report of 72 314 cases from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. JAMA 2020;323:1239-42.  Back to cited text no. 8
Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, Bretzel G, Froeschl G, Wallrauch C, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. N Engl J Med 2020;382:970-1.  Back to cited text no. 9


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