Article: Volume 47 Number 8 Page 644 - September 2020

  Dent Update 2020; 47: 644-650  Read article

COVID-19 and Facial Protection:  COVID-19: Unmasking the Facial Protection Paradigms

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Abstract: A number of facial protection measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 is available to clinicians. Here, we comprehensively explore the pros and cons of different types of face masks including N95 respirators, face shields, and powered, filtering-facepiece respirators (FFRs) currently used to reduce airborne infection transmission in the dental clinic. The controversial issue of the `fit test` prior to the use of N95 masks, and the related, current, UK and US recommendations are additionally discussed. The article concludes with a section on facial skin health, and practical measures for circumventing the adverse skin effects due to prolonged mask wearing.

Clinical relevance: Post-COVID-19, ‘new normal’ entails significant re-adaptations of infection control in dentistry, including facial protection measures that are required for mitigating airborne infection transmission in the dental operatory. A strategic understanding of the theory and practice of facial protective measures, and the underlying technology of the various face masks and respirators available for dentistry, will be valuable for safeguarding the health of patients as well as the whole dental team.

Author notes: Lakshman Samaranayake, Professor Emeritus and Immediate-Past Dean of Dentistry and Dion Tik Shun Li, Clinical Assistant Professor in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Objective: To outline models for facial protection.