Since the beginning of the pandemic, changes in dental care-seeking behavior, restrictions for elective dental treatments, and monetary problems caused by the pandemic have increased dental infections, maxillofacial pain, and more complicated dental treatments. Vaccination of people seems a favorable preventive strategy for reducing the impact of COVID-19 on oral hygiene of people these days. It is also essential to vaccinate most of the population soon in developing countries and countries with large populations with restricted access to vaccination. Besides, the appearance of recent variants of COVID-19 may threaten the control of the pandemic, especially in developing countries. The efficacy of current vaccines on new strains is also questionable. Therefore, coherent planning for the rehabilitation of public oral health, including prevention and elective and emergency dental treatment, is crucial during and after the pandemic.
The first step to manage the outcomes mentioned above is to consider tele-screening and triaging to identify suspicious patients remotely when scheduling appointments (Mahmoudinezhad et al. 2020). Additionally, careful prescreening like asking patient's travel history and measuring temperature using a non-contact forehead thermometer, wearing a surgical mask, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing, disinfecting inanimate public contact consistently and correctly with various types of hospital-level disinfectants (such as sodium hypochlorite and 70% ethanol) are the other ways to make the dental office a safer place for treating the emergency dental condition. Asking patients to rinse their mouth with hydrogen peroxide 1% or 0.2% and povidone-iodine mouthwash prior to their dental treatment might reduce the load of coronaviruses in saliva (Kariwa et al. 2006; Dorestan et al. 2021). Using a rubber dam, high volume suction, extra-oral imaging, minimizing the use of ultrasonic instruments, and high-speed handpieces could reduce the risk of generating contaminated aerosols (Ather et al. 2020).
Oral diseases are a costly economic burden for individuals, families, and nations, both industrialized and developing. Consequently, it should be additional governmental support (insurance and finances) for reducing the economic pressure on patients for their dental treatments to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on public oral health. They should also provide more accessible dental health centers to facilitate patients' referrals, as well.
The final solution for having a balanced healthcare outcome is to have some educational interventions for people about how to detect and prevent tooth caries' progression. For effective oral health promotion, oral health instructions should be spread among the high percentage of people in the society by social media, well-designed brochures, face-to-face oral instructions, demonstration of oral hygiene practices at the dental clinic or provincial health centers, and asking dental students for volunteering actions under particular infection prevention protocols for COVID-19. Also, developing oral health education applications and video games and expanding their use in the community can help to improve oral health.