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Post-Pandemic Dental Practice: COVID-19, Oral Health & Infection Control

Course Number: 665

Screening Mechanisms

The implementation of teledentistry practices during the pandemic allowed for pre-procedural assessments of patient symptoms without an in-person interaction between patient and dental healthcare professional. Such pre-procedural assessments allow dental healthcare professionals to assess patients for exposure and infectious symptoms prior to delivery of dental care and may identify high-risk patients and reduce exposure for dental healthcare professionals. The objective of such screening allows dental healthcare professionals to limit or select the patients who have access to the dental clinical environment. Further, evidence suggests that utilization of teledentistry increased significantly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.39,40 It is notable that social influences positively impacted dentists’ willingness to engage in teledentistry and the increase in the utilization during COVID-19 may result in long-term shifts in dental consultation delivery via teledentistry services.41 This could result in triage or delivery of palliative care for patients with urgent/emergent leads who may be at higher risk of infectious spread and postponement of elective procedures in high-risk individuals.23 It should be noted that the application of teledentistry varies by localities and dental healthcare providers should confirm with their regulatory bodies, including federal, state, and/or other regulatory boards to determine allowable application in their area.