Dental professionals have higher COVID-19 risk than patients

Dentists and hygienists have a higher risk of getting sick than patients, since they are on the receiving end of any aerosol droplets potentially containing the virus, some health specialists told The New York Times.

"All that drilling and suctioning, it's the provider, it's not the patient, getting aerosolized secretions," said Laurie Anne Ferguson, DNP, RN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health at Loyola University New Orleans.

As of June 19, every state had allowed dentists' offices to resume all procedures, according to the American Dental Association.

Todd Bertman, DMD, switched from ultrasonic cleaners that spray water and saliva to laser instruments when he reopened his New York City-based practice two weeks ago. The dental staff change into new booties, gowns, goggles, masks, gloves and plastic face shields after each appointment.

"It's annoying as hell, but this is what it kind of comes down to until we find a vaccine," Dr. Bertman told the NYT.

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