As another global health crisis makes its rise in the United States, it stands to reason that there is growing concern among the public regarding transmission, detection, and treatment of this new-found threat: Monkeypox. According to the CDC, Monkeypox outbreaks have occurred in the United States to the tune of 24,846 cases with one death as of September 14, 2022 with over 500 of these occurring in California.1 It often spreads through “close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including: direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox, touching objects fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox, and contact with respiratory secretions.”1. Though this last point does produce reminders of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists still say it is much less contagious than its SARS-Cov2 counterpart.
The question remains: Should dental patients and practitioners be worried about transmission during dental procedures and visits, and how can your dental professional help you regarding Monkeypox diagnosis? According to the California Dental Association (CDA), dentists and dental professionals are in a great position to help identify monkeypox during their examinations due to the first sign often being a rash appearing on the face with lesions inside the mouth. Even so, chances transmission in dental practices is still believed to be very low.1,2
According to the CDA, dentists and dental professionals can help identify potential monkeypox cases early in patients by:
- Asking additional history questions such as the presence of sores in or around the mouth.2
- Identification of rashes in and around the mouth, particularly in the corners of the mouth or on the tongue.2
- Contacting the local health department if an infection is suspected to begin the contact tracing and isolation procedures necessary to slow the spread.2
Rest assured, despite low rates of transmission in dental offices, Dr. Penhaskashi and his team have not let their guard down when it comes to team and patient safety. We still adhere to CDC recommendations regarding best practices when it comes to personal protective equipment and cleanliness, and we go above and beyond to make sure each operatory is properly cleaned and sanitized between patients to give you the most comfortable experience with the highest-level peace of mind in an uncertain and ever changing public health climate.
For more information about monkeypox or how your dentist can help you identify potential infection, visit:
- Monkeypox. Centers for disease control and prevention website. Updated September 14, 2022.Accessed September 26, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html.
- Dentists can help detect monkeypox during patient examinations. California Dental Association Website. Updated: August 17, 2022. Accessed: September 26, 2022. https://www.cda.org/Home/News-and-Information/Newsroom/Article-Details/dentists-can-help-detect-monkeypox-during-patient-examinations