The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice
Volume 21 | Issue 6 | Year 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 Virus may Remain Viable on Oral Appliances for up to 3 Days?

Thodur Madapusi Balaji1, Saranya Varadarajan2, A Thirumal Raj3, Shankargouda Patil4

1Department of Dentistry, Bharathirajaa Hospital and Research Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2,3Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Sri Venkateswara Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
4Department of Maxillofacial Surgery and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Oral Pathology, College of Dentistry, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Corresponding Author: Shankargouda Patil, Department of Maxillofacial Surgery and Diagnostic Sciences, Division of Oral Pathology, College of Dentistry, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Phone: +966 507633755, e-mail: dr.ravipatil@gmail.com

How to cite this article Balaji TM, Varadarajan S, Thirumal Raj A, et al. The SARS-CoV-2 Virus may Remain Viable on Oral Appliances for up to 3 Days? J Contemp Dent Pract 2020;21(6):597.

Source of support: Nil

Conflict of interest: None

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has created havoc in the world by causing the COVID-19 pandemic.1 The affected patients exhibit fever, cough, and apnea. Hospitalization is often due to progressive respiratory distress, which, in a proportion of patients, had led to fatalities.2 The geriatric population is at a higher risk, because of their reduced immunity and the presence of comorbid conditions like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. Health authorities have advocated social distancing as a method to contain the spread of this contagious disease. A landmark study has shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can remain viable on various surfaces like cardboard, stainless steel, plastic, and copper for a long duration. The research conducted by van Doremalen et al.3 has created an aerosolized environment using SARS-CoV-2 (105.25 50% tissue-culture infectious dose [TCID50] per milliliter) in a Goldberg drum using a 3 jet collision nebulizer and has exposed various materials such as cardboard, paper, stainless steel, plastic, and copper to the virus. The SARS-Cov-2 virus was found to be viable in aerosol for only 3 hours, although its presence on material surfaces lasted significantly longer, especially in stainless steel and plastic surfaces, wherein the virus was detected for up to 72 hours.3

The above finding has a large implication for dental fraternity. It is well known that plastic and stainless steel are used to fabricate dentures, crowns, splints, aligners, and retainers. Hence dental clinicians and patients handling these appliances should be extremely cautious as these appliances could have a viable load of SARS-Cov-2 on their surfaces for up to 72 hours. This finding is all the more alarming as the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expressed in the oral cavity could be a portal of entry for the SARS-CoV-2 into the host cells.4

An additional concern is with removable appliances. A SARS-CoV-2 contaminated removable appliance could be a source of spread to caregivers handling patients’ belongings. Vice versa, an atmosphere contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, could, in turn, contaminate the appliance surface and remain viable to infect the wearer. It is hence worthwhile to consider dental prosthesis containing plastic and stainless steel as one of the routes of transmission for SARS-CoV-2. Hence clinicians and patients should handle prosthesis with extreme care and disinfect the same upon removal, during storage, and before reinsertion into the mouth.


1. Lai CC, Shih TP, Ko WC, et al. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19): the epidemic and the challenges. Int J Antimicrob Agents 2020;55(5): 105924. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105924.

2. Zhou P, Yang XL, Wang XG, et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature 2020;579(7798):270–273. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7.

3. van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med 2020;382(16):1564–1567. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973.

4. Xu H, Zhong L, Deng J, et al. High expression of ACE2 receptor of 2019-nCoV on the epithelial cells of oral mucosa. Int J Oral Sci 2020;12(1):1–5. DOI: 10.1038/s41368-020-0074-x.

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