Controlling Infection and Patient Perception
Although infection control measures have always been a component of dentistry, the need for enhanced measures during the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way that we practice. From the adoption of more comprehensive surface disinfection protocols and the implementation of air filtration devices to the use of additional personal protective equipment and the elimination of aerosol-generating procedures, the current operation of dental offices is very different from how it was before the crisis. This month's cover story examines the steps that dentistry has taken to protect patients and staff from the transmission of COVID-19, the impact that this has had, and what the future of infection control may look like for the profession.
Unfortunately, despite all of the actions that dental practices are taking, many are suffering because business has slowed down, particularly in the area of hygiene production. Patients are aware of the dangers of aerosols, and many are still afraid to present for treatment. That's why patient communication has become more important than ever. Whether it's the prominent display of information on the practice's website, pre-appointment phone calls with patients, or signage in the office, patients need to know about everything that we are doing to protect them.
Other articles in this issue explore novel thermoplastic tray fabrication techniques for bleaching, the treatment of nonreducing disc displacement, and more. While reading, you may notice that this month's Inside Implants article is presented in a shorter, image-heavy format. Going forward, you'll see more articles like this as part of Inside Dentistry's push to get the most content into each issue and bring more thought-provoking cases to our readers.
Later this month, I'll be moderating the Seattle Study Club's 2021 Annual Symposium. With its virtual format and availability to nonmembers, it's a great opportunity for dentists to learn from some of the best minds in dentistry without ever leaving their home or office.
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice, Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa