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A recent study by Ohio State University likens the risk of Covid-19 infection from dentist visits to the risk of infection from drinking a glass of water while in the practice.

The study, “Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and Other Microorganisms in Dental Aerosols,” followed a cohort of 28 patients “receiving dental implants and restorations using high-speed drills or ultrasonic scaling procedures in Ohio State’s College of Dentistry” from May 4 to July  10, 2020. 

It’s worth noting that during that time frame, the daily Covid infections in the U.S. increased from roughly 22,000 – lower than the weekly average as of this writing – to more than 60,000, or roughly double the current average.

It’s All About The Aerosols

The researchers focused on two aerosol-producing procedures – dental implants and ultrasound scaling. To summarize, the irrigants used and aerosolized during the procedures contained the same levels and types of bacteria and viruses that were already present in the practice. “In essence,” the authors wrote, “from a microbial standpoint, the contents of the spray mirrored what was in the office environment.”

No Covid virus particles were detected in the aerosols, even when the virus was present in the saliva of asymptomatic patients. Genetic sequencing was performed to determine the sources.

Some Patients Are Still Hesitant

Many dentists are telling SmartBox that they’re very busy and that they’re having some of their best months ever. That demand for services, and elective, high-value services at that has been driven by outside forces as outlined in May 6th’s blog.

That demand is declining as the artificial “fuel” – stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits – are exhausted.

However, not all patients and prospects, particularly those who haven’t yet received any vaccinations – may still be reluctant to schedule. Use the results of this study to influence those holdouts to schedule an appointment.


Written by Smartbox

SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.

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