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Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry

September 25, 2020

Today the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) published a rapid review of the evidence related to the generation and mitigation of aerosols in dental practice and the associated risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Significant support for the review was provided by Cochrane Oral Health, a key partner in the project.

The aim of this rapid review was to identify and appraise the evidence related to several pre-determined key questions about aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) in dentistry. A process of considered judgement of this evidence, assessed in the context of the balance of benefits and harms, acceptability and feasibility of each proposed intervention was used to reach agreed positions that may be used to inform policy and clinical guidance. The robust process of evidence synthesis and decision making, all completed online in 13 weeks, under-pinned the considered judgements and is described in more detail in the methodology document that accompanies the review. We are particularly grateful to members of the research community who shared with SDCEP their unpublished recent findings to inform the work of the review group.

To conduct this review, SDCEP convened a multidisciplinary Working Group comprising subject specialists from disciplines including particle physics, aerobiology and clinical virology, in addition to those performing multiple roles within dentistry. Representatives from all four of the devolved UK nations participated in the work of the Group.

It is important to stress that the published document does not have the status of guidance. However, the findings will be of interest to those developing clinical guidance, for whom the challenge of maintaining patient and staff safety, while also enhancing access to dental care through increased clinical productivity, is highly significant.

The agreed position statements presented in the document are based on the evidence available at the time of publication. In view of the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, this is a living document and the Working Group will continue to assess new evidence to maintain currency of the document in the months ahead.