PARIS (AP) – Anyone who has suffered a two-month lockout in France with a toothache or other non-urgent oral condition has the hope of licking the pain.
Dental offices across the country are reopening and cautiously accepting appointments after the French government eased restrictions on certain businesses, services and public activities.
However, returning to work in the era of coronaviruses requires caution, especially for more than 40,000 dentists in France who are among the health professionals most at risk of being infected.
Because respiratory droplets are a means of transmission of the virus between people, dentistry requires protecting patients and especially practitioners. This means not only disinfecting tools and surfaces, but layer by layer of screens, envelopes, gloves and additional masks.
The World Health Organization has recommended specialized face masks for healthcare providers performing medical procedures such as ventilation and intubation that produce fine airborne particles that could transmit the coronavirus. Drilling teeth for fillings is also known to generate aerosolized viral particles.
Paris dentist Sabrine Jendoubi said the trade-off for safety was the discomfort of carrying more of the head and body.
“A surgical suit is something we wear in the operating room. Today we wear it for everything, “said Jendoubi. Among the various filter masks certified to protect against viruses in the air, she finds the model classified FFP2 “the most complicated, because it is really very tight”.
“It filters out all the viruses and bacteria, so it’s quite heavy to carry, but it protects us and the patients,” said Jendoubi.
Additional precautions are also an additional expense. An operator of clinics and medical offices in France, Doctocare, told the AP that it costs 50,000 euros ($ 54,000) to provide each of the company’s centers with hygiene and protection equipment. recommended by the French government.
“We will communicate these difficult cost-effective adjustments to government, but for now we are focusing on this public health issue,” said Carine Benharrous, director of dental operations at Doctocare.
The limited distance between the faces of dentists and their patients is also a potential concern, as some experts have hypothesized that people who receive a higher infectious dose of coronavirus may become more seriously ill with COVID-19.
In Great Britain, all routine dental care has been suspended, with the exception of telephone consultations and prescriptions.
As dentists in Denmark return to their offices, they wear protective coveralls and plastic face shields while treating patients with their mouths wide open. Cleaning the teeth to remove the plaque is done by hand rather than with ultrasonic devices which would increase the risk of producing the spindle.
However, in some European countries, dental offices have never closed due to the virus. Dentists in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by virus infections and deaths, have cut their services to only take urgent cases in person, managing other patients over the phone.
Evidence that a pandemic was not an excuse to avoid an Italian dentist’s chair was a Twitter photo of April 23 of the United States Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich wearing a safety net and a sheet in paper.
“A trip to the dentist in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gingrich tweeted with emoji of an Italian flag and a smiling face in sunglasses.
Adamson reported from Leeds, England. Jan Olsen in Copenhagen, Nicole Winfield in Rome and Maria Cheng in London contributed.