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VOLUME 21 , ISSUE 6 ( June, 2020 ) > List of Articles

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

Fine Aerosols and Perceived Risk of COVID-19 among Italian Dental Practitioners: An Experimental Survey

Elisa Gambarini

Citation Information : Gambarini E. Fine Aerosols and Perceived Risk of COVID-19 among Italian Dental Practitioners: An Experimental Survey. J Contemp Dent Pract 2020; 21 (6):599-603.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10024-2850

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 23-07-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Abstract

Aim: The aim of the present study was to take a survey on Italian practitioners concerning the perceived risks of aerosol contamination in COVID-19 times and their attitude toward modifications of treatment protocols to reduce this risk. Materials and methods: Power analysis calculated a minimum sample size of 150 participants at 99% confidence level with a 5% margin of error. To homogenize responses elicited by different preventive measures by various national governments, only Italian dentists were included in the survey: overall 500 responses were collected. Results: Of the 500 analyzed respondents, there were 266 females and 234 males; 379 practitioners were allocated in the more experienced groups, and the remaining 121 in the less experienced group based on less or more than 5 years of practice. The 70% of the dentists consider the dental practice more dangerous for the diffusion of COVID-19 than other social activities. The 5% consider dental practice more dangerous only for the patients. Aerosol contamination was perceived as a risk from the most dentist (70%), but there was agreement on the most dangerous way of cross infection in dental settings. Most of the dentists (55%) believed implementations in their protocols were needed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections. No significant differences were found within the groups: both women and men, as well as practitioners with different experience levels (younger or older than 35 years) perceived very similarly the problems related to COVID-19 in dentistry (p > 0.05). Conclusion: The survey demonstrated that COVID-19 had a great impact on dental practitioners; it increased not only fear of aerosol contamination during dental treatments but also influenced the fear of close contacts. Significance: Airborne and waterborne infections are related with dental treatments and considered the preferred ways of diffusion for COVID-19. The risk of aerosol-related infections could interfere with the clinical practice of the dentist, during the COVID-19 pandemic; the limitations that provided changes to everyday behavior could affect the perception of the safety of the operators, staff, and patient and this could also affect economically the dental office.


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