COVID-19: Report on AGPs and fallow time published
25 September 2020
The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has today published its report on aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) and COVID-19.
We’re urging all four nations to consider this report’s recommendations and to move forward in a clear and coordinated way. Dentists and dental patients all over the country need clarity on how these essential treatments should now be provided. Patients in particular should note that any changes from these recommendations will not mean a return to “normal” dental care.
This report is not new government guidance, but rather a review which aims to inform policy makers. 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, including:
- High volume suction and rubber dam use is recommended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission
- The use of fallow time is recommended, the length of which varies between 10 and 60 minutes and depends on the ventilation rate, high volume suction and rubber dam use
- Pre-procedural mouth rinses and anti-microbial coolants are not recommended for use to reduce risk of virus transmission.
These recommendations will be reviewed as more evidence emerges, as the evidence base is currently quite weak. However, the report is a thorough piece of work and valuable resource for dentists in these challenging times.
The report also outlines some likely implications for practices, as training may be required and improving ventilation is likely to be costly and require specialist technical support. If these recommendations evolve into requirements then we will need governments to step up and offer direct financial support.
Our concern remains the safety of dentists, dental staff and patients and the financial viability of dental practices. We will continue to campaign on your behalf, and update you on any changes. Until new guidance is issued, we urge you to follow existing government guidance on AGPs and COVID-19.