Release of the new Dental Appendix and new UK UPC Guidance

New dental IPC guidance has been released for the UK. This document outlines a change from High, Medium and Low risk pathways to a Respiratory and Non-Respiratory pathway.

In Wales, there is a legal requirement for “workplaces and for premises open to the public (called “regulated premises” in the Regulations) to ensure that reasonable measures are taken to minimise the risk of exposure to, or the spread of, coronavirus by those who have been at those premises” (1).

To minimise the risk of transmission while COVID-19 is in circulation for the Non-Respiratory pathway where infection status is unknown we would recommend that the surgery has 10 air changes per hour or above. Surgeries that do not have the recommended number of air changes per hour are advised to refer to SDCEP fallow times for aerosol generating procedures. Surgeries that do not have any mechanical or natural ventilation should not carry out aerosol generating procedures.

The new guidance also includes an example screening tool for COVID-19. Dental teams in Wales will need to carry out an appropriate risk assessment for COVID-19. Relevant questions, which include commonly reported wider symptoms can improve risk assessments(2) and have been included in the Dental management of patients in Wales during C-19 pandemic recovery document. Teams may also choose to use LFD tests as part of the risk assessments to reduce the risk of transmission in practice.

  1. Alert level 0: guidance for employers, businesses and organisations.
  2. Optimal symptom combinations to aid COVID-19 case identification: Analysis from a community-based, prospective, observational cohort. 2021. M. Antonelli, J. Capdevila, A. Chaudhari, S. Ourselin, C.J. Steves, A.E. Loeliger.