Long COVID and oral health care considerations

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School of Dental Medicine::Departmental Papers (Dental)
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Long COVID; COVID-19; patient treatment; medically complex dental treatment
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Katherine France; Michael Glick DMD

Background People who have recovered from the initial severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection are at risk of developing long COVID, a prolonged suite of signs and symptoms that may interfere with daily life and the ability to undergo routine oral health care.

Methods The available literature on long COVID was reviewed and compiled to produce a review of the syndrome as currently understood. Articles were evaluated with a focus on how long COVID may affect the provision of oral health care and on ways in which treatment may need to be modified to best care for this vulnerable patient population.

Results Long COVID includes a wide variety of symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, risk of developing thromboembolism, and neurologic and psychiatric complications. These symptoms may arise at various times and in a wide range of patients, and they may necessitate modification of routine oral health care interventions.

Conclusions Recommendations for the treatment of affected people in an oral health care setting are presented, including a thorough evaluation of the patient history and current status, understanding of how related symptoms may affect oral health care interventions, and which modifications to treatment are needed to provide safe and appropriate care.

Practical Implications Oral health care professionals must be aware of long COVID, an increasingly prevalent condition with a widely variable presentation and impact. Oral health care professionals should be prepared to treat these patients safely in an outpatient oral health setting.

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The Journal of the American Dental Association
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American Dental Association
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