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

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Healthcare Delivery & Policy, Social Impacts

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 will consult 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 this information the researchers will be able to create a model for how the industry can implement a phased preparedness system. This model will inform the way urgent oral health care is being delivered during this time, while complementing the current infection control efforts that dentists employ.