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Fallow time during COVID-19

By DTA | 3rd August 2020 | News

Sara Hurley led a discussion on fallow time as a result of COVID-19 during the CDO England online workshops attended by Tony Griffin on behalf of the DTA.

The fallow period is the 'time necessary for clearance of infectious aerosols after a procedure before decontamination of the surgery can begin' (FGDP, 2020).

Clinicians carry out Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) during which aerosols large enough to house the COVID-19 causing microorganisms (Sars-Cov-2) and are likely to have travelled to various surfaces in the dental room. Fallow time is required for the aerosols to settle before cleaning can commence.

Currently, dental practices in England are instructed to allow for a 60-minute fallow period following an aerosol generating procedure and before re-entering the room to clean for the next patient.

What does this mean for the dental laboratory? The 60-minute fallow time significantly reduces the number of appointments a clinician can offer to patients, and therefore also reduces the amount of work a dental laboratory will likely receive.

During the online meeting, concerns were raised with the CDO surrounding ways to be economic, the work speeds being adopted and the need for a standard and simple way of calculating how much fallow time is required when using different support systems.

The British Dental Association (BDA) and the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) have both released statements questioning the length of fallow time imposed. BAPD group are calling for a reduction in the fallow time to 30 minutes for AGPs and no time for non-AGPs in their letter to Public Health England. The BDA website is currently offline.

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