June 7, 2021
by John Hardie, BDS, MSc, PhD, FRCDC
I wish to thank Joan Hutchings for her timely article but perhaps not for the reasons that she might think. She offers a quote from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) which states adamantly that, “…dental offices are at high risk for spreading COVID-19 given the aerosol generating nature of dental procedures…” There are a number of faults with this RCDSO conclusion.
The RCDSO is not expressing an opinion on dental aerosols and COVID-19, it is making a frank declaration that there is a causal relationship between certain dental procedures and the acquisition of COVID-19. It cannot arrive at such a conviction without unequivocal evidence obtained from dental clinical investigations. Without such proof its recommendations on fallow times and HVAC are mere hot air. That conclusion has its genesis in the quote used by Ms. Hutchings which is why I thank her.
A note from the original author, Joan Hutchings, President, SAFE Dentistry Inc.
I had two goals in mind when I wrote the article. The first goal was to increase awareness of the increased risk associated with the limited information provided by the RCDSO pertaining to AGPs and enclosed operatories. The second goal was to initiate important conversations about the RCDSO standards and guidelines as they relate to AGPs and COVID-19. Both of my goals have been achieved.
It is important that discussions on this topic continue, not only for the safety of the dental team, but also for the patients. Critical decisions must be evidenced-based, and science driven.