EFP Safety suggestions for dental patients and practices during the Covid-19 pandemic

Whilst the dental profession in the UK is currently facing an uncertain time, and as we await guidance from the Chief Dental Officers on how we will treat patients, it appears that some of our European colleagues have started returning to work following guidelines from their (country’s) relevant authorities.

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) has published a set of infographics that provide suggestions on safe operating procedures and management of patient workflow in relation to dental treatment, with the intention being that this information may be relevant to all and not specific to local regulations. Therefore, we have copied the above-mentioned safety suggestions below, for your information. This document contains a link to enable you to download the series of infographics.

It must be noted that these EFP recommendations are based on the current available (but limited) scientific and clinical observations. The information has been co-ordinated by the EFP Past President Professor Filippo Graziani.

We hope that you will find these safety suggestions helpful as we consider ways to protect our staff and patients when we are able to return to practice.

It is important to emphasize that in the UK we await advice/ guidance from the Chief Dental Officers, which we will immediately share with our membership and on our website News page.

EFP devises a safety protocol for dental patients and practices during the Covid-19 pandemic

The document provides dental clinics with suggestions on how to manage patients before, during, and after their treatment to maximise safety.

These EFP recommendations are based on the limited science available and on clinical observations, and have been coordinated by Filippo Graziani, EFP Past President.

Brussels, 7 May 2020. Oral healthcare is severely affected all over the world by the Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic because of the risk implied for both dental professionals and patients. In order to provide the dental sector with a protocol to navigate the crisis effectively, the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) has published a set of infographics that provide suggestions on how dental practices can operate safely and manage patient workflow before, during, and after their treatment.

Co-ordinated by Filippo Graziani, EFP past president and chair of its European Project Committee, this safety protocol has been devised as a response to the crisis affecting the provision of oral-healthcare services around the world.

The scientific evidence related to dental management during the Covid-19 pandemic is so far merely observational, and prospectively designed interventions – to form the basis for proper evidence-based guidelines – are missing. This document is based on the limited scientific literature available and on the observations and experiences of dental clinicians. It does not conflict with any guidelines issued by local and national healthcare authorities.

“We have tried to highlight the current knowledge, basing our ideas on three different levels of strength according to the information we have on the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” explains Filippo Graziani. “For the EFP, the safety of our colleagues, co-workers, and patients worldwide is of utmost importance. Despite the relatively little knowledge that is available, we have tried to encapsulate some practical information in graphics to support the dental and periodontal world globally. Please follow your own institutions’ guidelines if any discrepancies are noted and check for changes, as knowledge on the management of the virus is changing swiftly.”

The infographics illustrate protocols for patient triage, patient management in the dental office, and treatment and post-treatment routines, as well a phone-triage questionnaire with questions to ask patients when they call the dental practice to make an appointment. All the material is available for downloading at: http://www.efp.org/publications/covid-19.html.

“In these uncertain days, at the time when we will probably start going back to work in many countries, the EFP felt that this initiative was necessary to offer to all our members clear guidelines and also to have a global vision of the situation and the impact of the pandemic on periodontists, dentists, and hygienists,” adds Xavier Struillou, president of the EFP.