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Management protocol for dental outpatient department during the COVID-19 pandemic: documenting best practices
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  • Jing Guo,
  • Kun XUAN,
  • LingXia GUAN,
  • ZiHan LI,
  • Liang KONG,
  • Ming ZHANG
Jing Guo
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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Kun XUAN
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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LingXia GUAN
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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ZiHan LI
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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Liang KONG
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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Ming ZHANG
State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology & National Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases & Shaanxi Clinical Research Center for Oral Diseases, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University
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Abstract

Objectives: The ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection (COVID-19) has been declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. It is a highly contagious disease that poses a grave threat to human health. Dental practice involves close contact with the airway and dental procedures entail generation of intense aerosol sprays; the virus particles can survive within small droplets in the air for several hours. Thus, dental practice is associated with a high risk of cross infection. This article describes the patient management process and its performance at the outpatient department of a specialized dental hospital during the COVID-19 epidemic in Xi’an, China. The objective is to provide a reference for management protocols for dental clinics and dental specialty centers across the world. Methods: A specialized management protocol for staff, patients, and material management for dental clinic during the epidemic was implemented since February 3 2020. The numbers of outpatient visits, distribution of oral diseases, demographic characteristics of patients, and COVID-19 infection among patients and staff from February 3 to March 15 are described. Results: The management protocols at the dental clinic were tailored according to the level of national emergency response for COVID-19. The number of physical consultations at the hospital was effectively controlled with use of online consulting service. Dental emergency patients were managed safely. Conclusion: The management protocol and infection prevention and control strategies adopted at our institution are effective in treating dental emergencies while controlling the spread of COVID-19 virus in oral clinics.