Dental teams should carry out COVID-19 saliva tests on patients, dentist says

A dentist is calling on dental teams to undertake COVID-19 saliva tests on their patientsA dentist is calling on dental teams to undertake COVID-19 saliva tests on their patients. 

Dr Joel Strom is pushing for dentists to be given a more active role, dubbing the practice setting the ‘perfect place’ to carry out saliva tests.

According to Cision, he argues that dentists’ experience and understanding of saliva means they are the most appropriate health professionals for the job.

Fellow at the Forsyth Institute, the centre is working alongside the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative. It acts as an adviser and resource in the effort to develop rapid COVID-19 point-of-care tests.

Non-invasive method

It has also been selected to develop and improve testing devices and technologies that use saliva as the test sample.

Saliva contains the SARS-CoV-2 virus and is also easily collected. As a result, this has led many to argue that it is a useful sample type to allow for non-invasive, and rapid testing.

Dr Strom adds: ‘However, collecting saliva, interpreting a test result and referring is well within the dental scope of practice. It provides patients with a low-cost opportunity to be screened and referred should the salivary evaluation warrant that referral.’

Mammoth task

This comes as an implant dentist argues that dental professionals have a moral duty to support UK vaccine rollout.

Eddie Scher – a past president of the Association of Dental Implantology – believes that the case spike makes the need for support ‘vital’.

As a result, he believes the contribution of dental teams will make a ‘direct difference’.

He said: ‘There are more than 66 million people in this country. Vaccinating even a small proportion is a mammoth task.

‘But if just a few thousand extra dental professionals joined the COVID-19 vaccination programme as volunteers, think what a difference that could make.’

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