COVID-19 is a novel viral respiratory disease caused by a member of the coronavirus family, SARS-CoV-2, and has been declared as a pandemic on March 2020. Dental practitioners are routinely exposed to infectious bodily excretions, for example, saliva, blood, and respiratory excretions. Therefore, they are in the first line of SARS-CoV-2 infection-prone health care providers. The purposes of the current review are to trace documented cases of COVID-19 transmission inside dental settings worldwide and to explore the clinical management of these cases.
We searched MEDLINE and Google Scholar for all possible reported cases of COVID-19 transmission in dental practice as of December 1, 2019, until May 13, 2020. Multiple terms and combinations were used, including “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” “SARS-CoV-2,” “dental,” “dentistry,” “transmission,” and “nosocomial.” Articles that were not written in English were excluded.
A total of 78 articles were found from December 29, 2019, until May 13, 2020. Of these, 31 articles discussed the risks related to dental practice and recommended infection management protocols for dental health care personnel. Of these articles, only 1 had reported data on transmission of COVID-19 in dental practice. Two possible transmissions of COVID-19 to dental personnel were reported in China before its recognition as an epidemic.
Although it seems that there are almost no reported cases of infection by SARS-CoV-2 during dental treatments, occupational or nosocomial transmission could not be ruled out. Hence, further prospective assessment of COVID-19 transmission is urgently required, and careful and protective measurements are necessary to avoid infection during dental practice.