COVID-19 Transmission in Dental Practice: Brief Review of Preventive Measures in Italy

J Dent Res. 2020 Aug;99(9):1030-1038. doi: 10.1177/0022034520920580. Epub 2020 Apr 17.


The outbreak and diffusion of SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has caused an emergency in the health system worldwide. After a first development in Wuhan, China, the virus spread in other countries, with Italy registering the second highest number of cases in Europe on the 7th of April 2020 (135,586 in total). The World Health Organization declared the pandemic diffusion of COVID-19, and restrictive measures to limit contagion have been taken in several countries. The virus has a predominantly respiratory transmission through aerosol and droplets. The importance of infection control is therefore crucial in limiting the effects of virus diffusion. We aim to discuss the risks related to dental practice and current recommendations for dental practitioners. A literature search was performed to retrieve articles on the management of COVID-19 diffusion in dental practice. The documented clinical experience, the measures of professional prevention, and the actual Italian situation were reported and described. Four articles were retrieved from the literature search. Among the eligible articles, 3 reported measures to contrast COVID-19 diffusion. The infection management protocols suggested were reviewed. Finally, recommendations based on the Italian experience in terms of patient triage, patients' entrance into the practice, dental treatment, and after-treatment management are reported and discussed. COVID-19 is a major emergency worldwide, which should not be underestimated. Due to the rapidly evolving situation, further assessment of the implications of COVID-19 outbreak in dental practice is needed.

Keywords: dental education; dental public health; infection control; practice management; prevention; virology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections* / transmission
  • Coronavirus*
  • Dental Care* / standards
  • Dentists*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Infection Control* / methods
  • Italy
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / transmission
  • Professional Role
  • SARS-CoV-2