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sector_ico_Health_trans Human Health

Structural preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic and the provision of urgent oral health care

  • Project Leaders: Mario Brondani
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $144662
  • Program/Competition: COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2020
  • Status: Closed

It is known that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can be dispersed through droplets of saliva. The global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted oral and dental care since aerosol and saliva droplets are part of any dental procedure, leading to possible spread of the virus. Dental professionals are at high risk of exposure to the virus, which is why many dental clinics have temporarily closed in the face of the pandemic for services that do not require urgent care. Given that dental professionals are unable to physically distance from their patients it is essential to determine how to proceed in urgent cases.

This project consulted with dental professionals to determine what preparations during an outbreak are necessary to provide urgent care, how much guidance is given for these preparations, if there are barriers to implementing these changes and any other concerns about providing care. From the information gathered, researchers created a model for how the industry can implement a phased preparedness system. This model is now being used to educate the future dental providers at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Dentistry while being also disseminated to the broader audience via publications, video broadcasts and presentations at health care conferences. This model will inform the way dental care can be delivered in the event of another pandemic or disease outbreak, complementing the current infection control efforts that dentists employ to provide a safe appointment for their patients.