Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dental Practice: A National Survey
A national survey, to better understand the provision of aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) in dentistry and the challenges faced by dental teams during the COVID-19 pandemic was conducted by SDCEP in 2020. Invitations to complete the survey were distributed to dentists working in the General Dental Service, Public Dental Service and Hospital Dental Service, and to therapists, hygienists and hygiene-therapists via the NES Portal. Notice of the survey was also given via Twitter and professional networks known to SDCEP.
The survey ran from 17 September 2020 to 24 September 2020. Findings helped inform policy makers and guideline developers about the challenges faced by dentists and dental teams in this area of practice.
Qualitative findings from the data obtained can be found in the following publication:
Cousins, M., Patel, K., Araujo, M., Beaton, L., Scott, C., Stirling, D., Young, L. and Knights, J. (2022). A qualitative analysis of dental professionals’ beliefs and concerns about providing aerosol generating procedures early in the COVID-19 pandemic. BDJ Open, 8(2).
SDCEP Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry Rapid Review: Focus Groups
SDCEP led 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. The review was undertaken by a multidisciplinary Working Group which identified and appraised the evidence related to several pre-determined key questions about aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) in dentistry. The Working Group used a process of considered judgment of the evidence and other relevant factors to reach agreed positions to inform policy and clinical guidance.
For consideration by the AGP working group in the development of this review, the views of dental health care professionals towards different approaches to fallow time and the views of the public about their experiences of primary care dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic were gathered via online focus groups. A summary of the key findings (PDF) is available.
SDCEP COVID-19 Guide Findings from a National Survey
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SDCEP published a guide for the Management of Acute Dental Problems During COVID-19 Pandemic including a drug prescribing supplement.
To support SDCEP develop further resources for dental practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, a national survey asking for dentists’ views about additional information that should be included in the guide and the key advice that would be most helpful for patients was conducted.
Four hundred and twenty-six completed questionnaires were submitted. A summary of the results (PDF) is available.
What does my patient think during COVID-19? A twitter analysis
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on the 23rd of March 2020 the British Dental Association and UK Chief Dental Officers advised dentists to temporarily close their doors for all but emergency cases. On 30th March, the SDCEP released a guide for dentists to define dental emergency treatments and care pathways. In this rapidly changing environment, timely information is critical to guide evidence-informed decision making. Understanding of the public experience of dental services should form part of that decision making. We are undertaking a social media analysis of twitter communications to understand the public’s dental problems and awareness of what to do about such problems. This work will inform preparations for remobilisation of dental services. Research protocol of methods (PDF) for the work is available.
Preliminary findings (subject to change)
The focus is on tweets from members of the public (e.g., patients, third sector representatives) and those who directed their communication at the members of the public (e.g., dental practices, dentists). The initial findings are based on n=540 mentions, published within two time periods (20.03.20 to 12.04.20; and 11.05.20 to 18.05.20), the majority expressed by users based in England.
Emerging themes mostly concern:
- impacts on oral health (e.g., types of dental problems, methods of delaying treatment, uncertainties around self- and others-care).
- dental services (e.g., uncertainties around getting help locally and practices re-opening, variable access to care, aspects of satisfaction with care, beliefs about safety of dental procedures, acceptability of NHS treatment options).
- and wider socio-political debates (e.g., dentistry being less supported than other healthcare sectors, COVID as the highest order priority).