Dentistry, Engineering Researchers Explore COVID-19 Spread and Safety in Dental Offices

A collaborative effort between University of Minnesota researchers and clinicians made a real-life, immediate impact on patient care and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without this expertise, I don’t believe our clinics would have opened up as soon as they did,” said Paul Olin, DDS, MS, Interim Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota, of the project.

Paul Olin, DDS, MSIt all started in March 2020, when Governor Tim Walz halted all non-emergency dental procedures, effectively shutting down most of the School of Dentistry’s clinical presence. “In some respects, that did us a favor,” said Olin: it allowed him to take a step back and think through the risks of what he’d begun to suspect was an airborne pathogen.

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