Dent Med Probl. 2022 Sep 20. doi: 10.17219/dmp/149342. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was associated with the provision of multiple guidelines for the dental profession. All elective procedures were restricted, and only emergency procedures were performed. There was fear and anxiety among dentists while performing aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs), as they were considered to pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during AGPs, and to examine the association between risk severity and the number of AGPs performed per day. The efficacy of personal protective equipment (PPE) was also assessed.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This cross-sectional cohort study was based on an online questionnaire form completed by 629 general and specialized dentists between January 1 and February 28, 2021. The collected data referred to the sources of COVID-19 infection, the type of PPE used and the number of AGPs performed each day by dental healthcare professionals (DHCPs). For each question, the absolute numbers of responses as well as percentages were calculated.
RESULTS: Among the 629 DHCPs, 113 (17.97%) contracted COVID-19. The risk of contracting COVID-19 during AGPs was the same as in the case of non-AGPs, and the infection risk was not associated with the number of AGPs performed per day. The efficacy of a surgical mask with a face shield/eye goggles was higher in comparison with all other types of PPE. Differences in the infection risk across the different types of PPE used were statistically significant (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: The risk of COVID-19 transmission during AGPs is the same as in the case of non-AGPs. Thus, restrictions on the performance of elective AGPs should be lifted. On the other hand, the best protection during AGPs is provided by a surgical mask with a face shield/eye goggles.