COVID-19: Update: Scottish group publishes report on AGPs

COVID-19: Update: Scottish group publishes report on AGPs

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has published its report on aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) and COVID-19. The BDA reports that it is not new government guidance, but rather a review which aims to inform policy makers. They’re therefore urging all four nations to consider this report’s recommendations and to move forward in a clear and coordinated way.

The SDCEP reviewed available evidence relating to the generation and mitigation of aerosols in dental practice and the associated risk of COVID-19 transmission, and reached a number of agreed positions on fallow time and other mitigation measures. The BDA urges dentists to follow existing government guidance on AGPs and COVID-19, until new guidance is issued.

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and the College of General Dentistry have welcomed the report. Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP(UK), Trustee of CGDent and a member of the SDCEP’s review group, said: “SDCEP’s review of dental AGPs has been extremely thorough, and followed a rigorous and methodical approach. Its publication is potentially a very significant moment in the recovery of dental practices in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and I commend the SDCEP Team for the hard work and dedication they have shown in producing this report.  

He continued: “We welcome in particular the more refined stratification of the transmission risk inherent in types of dental procedure; the allowance for fallow time to be calculated from the cessation of the procedure; and the sophisticated approach to calculating fallow time, which considers both procedural and environmental mitigation factors such as high-volume suction, the use of rubber dam and provision of adequate air ventilation.

“These approaches align exceptionally well with our own guidance and we feel it is important that current standard operating procedures are reviewed in light of SDCEP’s recommendations. Adoption of these measures will enable the increased delivery of patient care to tackle the backlog of unmet need, and avoid further deterioration in dental access and oral health inequality.

“A reduction in fallow time will also support the viability of practices, while the maintenance of universal precautions will continue to keep both patients and members of the dental team safe. We aim to update our guidance as soon as possible, and are currently working with partners to develop an online Fallow Time Calculation Tool to support its implementation.”

The Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (RCS), Mr Matthew Garret welcomed the review publication, saying: “The Faculty welcomes the timely publication of this report in making clearer the impact of AGPs and their role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. While this review and its recommendations do not have the status of guidance, it remains an important step in creating a fuller evidence base to inform future guidance. As we continue to resume dental care, it is vital that policy making is able to be backed up by evidence, to keep both patients and dental surgeons safe.”

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