Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice supports dental professionals to take a risk-based and evidence-based approach to providing safe general dental care, whatever the national threat level. It was developed jointly with the College of General Dentistry, and with the involvement of a wide range of other national dental organisations.
A live document, it was first published on 1 June 2020, updated on 16 June 2020 (version 1.1), and last revised on 2 October 2020 (version 2).
The changes in version 1.1 related to:
- the prophylactic polishing of teeth
- use of face coverings in non-clinical areas
- the use of shoe and head coverings
- selection of PPE based on a risk assessment
- mopping of floors following treatment carrying a high risk of exposure to aerosol
The updated and additional guidance in version 2 covers:
- recommended fallow periods following higher risk procedures (incorporating the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme's recommendations)
- air ventilation and air cleaners
- the use of the 3 in 1 syringe
- the risk of aerosolisation from dental handpieces
- decontamination of the surgery
- the relevance of the R number and prevalence rate
- the protection of vulnerable staff
On 23 June 2020, a joint statement was also issued on the provision of a dental prophylaxis under COVID-19 alert levels 3 and 4.
A synopsis of key considerations, designed to be used in conjunction with version 2 of the guidance, was published on 20 October 2020 and is available below. This supersedes the synopsis of version 1.1 of the guidance, which was published on 17 June 2020.
Psychological advice for dental teams during the pandemic, developed in conjunction with the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology, was published in December 2020 as an adjunct to the guidance.
A free-to-use Fallow Time Calculator has also been launched to support use of the updated guidance. Built by digital consent platform Flynotes, supported by Practice Plan and Wesleyan, and endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England, this enables dental professionals to determine, justify and record the fallow period necessary following dental procedures carrying a higher risk of exposure to potentially-infectious aerosols. Register at https://myftc.co.uk/register.
Recordings of webinars based on the guidance, including The risk-based approach to COVID-19, The Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry and Mythbusters 2 , are available via https://www.fgdp.org.uk/dental-webinars.
Further related resources, including a Practice checklist and Treatment checklist and audit tool, have been developed by GSK and are available free of charge at https://www.gskhealthpartner.com/en-gb/news-events/covid-19/fgdp/.