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Spring 2020 Newsletter: UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry

Michaell Huber, DDS
David Ojeda, DDS 

Definitely, the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic has affected us at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. We effectively shut down mid-March in accordance with our state directives. Only true emergencies/urgencies were seen and we followed the ADA Interim Guidelines. Our oral medicine practice was effectively stopped, as there have been no true OM related emergencies. All remaining didactic classes were just recently completed through remote learning. The dynamic ever-changing science and politic of this pandemic continues to complicate future planning, but our institution has begun to methodically re-open to a new normal regimen. In this regard, Dr. David Ojeda and I plan to start seeing OM patients next week. As we do not generally generate aerosols, our re-start is fairly simple compared to most of our colleagues who now have to use respirators on a daily basis. I personally believe the teaching and delivery of dentistry will never be the same and the new normal will be much regimented. Regarding restarting operations, we are doing telephone and Dental School main entrance screenings following national and institutional protocols (questionnaire and temperature check).

Patients that requires aerosols producing procedures are being tested through PCR. Shortly, we will have our own collection center at the parking lot of our dental school. Samples are being processes by CPL labs and results turn out its taking an average 24 hours. Staff and residents have been trained by RNs for samples collections, this have translated in great engagement from our graduate students.

Dental appointments for aerosol producing procedures are being maximize; meaning doing the most dental work possible in one session. Patients requiring multiple procedures/sessions will be re tested every 7 days. All faculty and students count with half face respirators or N95 masks. Masks are being sterilized on weekly basis using a hydrogen peroxide vapor sterilization machine that school have acquired.

During the month of June, students will come back for SIMLAB activities and will be introduce to clinic in staggered session to comply with social distancing.