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Kristin Hohman serves as Associate Editor for DPR.
The coronavirus dominated Dental Products Report’s coverage throughout 2020.
A global pandemic, wildfires wreaking havoc in California and Australia, murder hornets, and more— how could anyone have predicted what 2020 would hold?
But the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was by far the biggest story of the year, dominating news coverage since January. There have been more than 55 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide. So, it’s no surprise that the coronavirus also monopolized Dental Products Report’s annual top 10 list.
Beginning in March, dental practices were urged to suspend non-emergency procedures through the end of April. But along with the pandemic, 2020 brought more awareness on infection control protocols—a topic that appears on our top 10 list as air purifiers and preprocedural rinses gained popularity during the outbreak. Take a look at our top articles from 2020.
by Kristin Hohman
Dental and health care professionals faced an ever-changing landscape of protocols on how to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the scarcity of personal protective equipment, it was major news when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of certain imported KN95 masks that did not meet medical standards. This came weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversaw testing these masks, most of which were imported. This article covers the details of the FDA’s decision and includes a list of FDA-approved masks.
Go to bit.ly/UpdateFDAKN95
This article looks at a review published in the October issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association, which suggested that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and had prior underlying gum disease may be at a higher risk for respiratory failure. The “Mouth COVID Connection” report suggests a link between the bacteria in inflamed gums and bone loss—symptoms of chronic periodontitis—and COVID-19 complications. The article explains this link, which is related to the IL-6 protein, and the role it plays in gum disease. Researchers believe that gum disease has played a part in the pandemic’s death toll, and elderly patients—particularly those with underlying medical conditions—are the most at-risk population.
As more became known about the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal organizations and dental associations across the country began updating their recommendations accordingly. The CDC updated its Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Dental Settings on August 4, and this article outlines the changes to PPE protocol, infection control directions for practices in COVID-19 hot spots, and patient screenings. The amended guidelines instructed dental professionals to wear N95 respirators or a respirator that offered equivalent or higher levels of protection during aerosol-generating procedures.
Go to bit.ly/CDCDentalUpdates
This piece takes a look at Neocis’ Yomi® robot-assisted dental surgery system that received 510(k) clearance from the FDA for a new edentulous indication. This expands Yomi’s application to include full arch implant cases, as well as partially edentulous cases. Yomi is reportedly the first and only FDA-cleared robot-assisted dental surgery system. Its navigational system is intended to help with planning and dental implantation surgery. The system’s software assists with planning implantation surgeries and provides navigational guidance of surgical instruments.
Go to bit.ly/YomiApplication
by Robert Elsenpeter
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to practice dentistry in a different city? With this top 10 list, we’ve got you covered. Using data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, financial information from WalletHub, and life expectancy statistics from Worldpopulationreview.com, this article evaluates areas based on several key factors, including annual wages, community health, education, economy, life expectancy, oral health, stress, and public safety. Each of these metrics is then ranked on a scale of 1 to 10. The region with the lowest score earned the top spot on our list. Using the same methodology, we also put together the worst places in the country to practice dentistry.
Go to bit.ly/2020TopCities
Patient safety and infection control have been top-of-mind during the COVID-19 outbreak. Air purifiers are used industrywide to reduce the risk of airborne contaminants. This article looks at Henry Schein’s exclusive deal to distribute Radic8 air purifiers in the United States and Canada. There are 3 models of the Radic8 purifiers that are available through Henry Schein. The Radic8 VIRUSKILLER™ 401 is designed for medium to large rooms, the Radic8 VirusKiller103 is ideal for large waiting rooms and operatories, and the Radic8 Hextio is ideal for small offices or reception areas.
Go to bit.ly/HSRadic
In response to the stance of the World Health Organization (WHO) on delaying nonessential oral care during the pandemic, the American Dental Association (ADA) stated that “dentistry is essential health care.” The ADA also opposed the WHO’s view that nonemergency dental procedures be postponed until there was a significant reduction in COVID-19 transmissions. Nonessential care includes check-ups, dental cleanings, and preventive care, according to the WHO.
This article explains the ADA’s view of dentistry as essential health care and why the organization called for dentists to postpone nonemergent procedures in March and suggested reopening offices in late May.
Go to bit.ly/ADAEssential
This article looks at the recommendation by the ADA and the Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) that dentists suspend elective procedures in response to the spread of COVID-19. Instead, practices were urged to focus on emergency care to ease the burden of emergency dental cases placed on hospital emergency departments nationwide. The ISDS recommended that dentists cease all in-person treatments until further notice.
Go to bit.ly/ADAISDS
by Stan Goff
This article features an interview with Kim Kutsch, DMD, founder of the company CariFree. The article takes a look at the benefits of using a preprocedural rinse to control aerosols. Susan Maples, DDS, says that, while screening protocols and increased PPE will become universal, the focus of reducing the risk of transmission can shift to the point of care.
Go to bit.ly/RinseVacuums
The pandemic brought concerns about aerosols and aerosol-generating procedures to the forefront of dentistry in 2020. The popularity of aerosol extraction methods steadily rose throughout the year. This article from August looks at BOFA International’s published guidance paper comparing the effectiveness and limitations of multiple aerosol extraction methods. The paper considers the hierarchy of controls, which is widely used to assess the impact of changes in working practices.