New Delhi: The fourth phase of lockdown has come with several relaxations. If not in a containment zone, then you are allowed to come out of your house, albeit with your mask on, and take a walk, go to the market, maintain social distancing, visit a parlour etc. But there is one thing that is still under a lot of surveillance and that is providing dental services. While no dentist can open their chambers in containment zones, in other zones, they can only provide consultations. Also Read - 'Why Can't Private Hospitals Built on Free Land Give Free Treatment to COVID-19 Patients', SC Asks Centre

Dentists, auxiliaries as well as the patients undergoing dental procedures are at high risk of cross-infection as most dental procedures require close contact with the patients’ oral cavity, saliva, blood and respiratory tract secretions, the ministry said. Also Read - Nokia Suspends Operations at Its Tamil Nadu Plant After 42 Employees Test COVID-19 Positive: Report

“Saliva is rich in COVID-19 viral load. Many patients who are asymptomatic may be carriers. For this reason, it is suggested that all patients visiting a dental office must be treated with due precautions,” it underlined. Also Read - Amid COVID-19, Researchers Develop Tool to Detect Antivirus Antibody in Just 20 Minutes

According to the advisory, dental clinics will remain closed in the containment zones. However, they can continue to provide teleconsultation and the patients in these zones can seek ambulance services to travel to the nearby COVID dental facility.

Emergency dental procedures can be performed in the dental facilities falling under “red” zones.

The dental clinics in the “orange” and “green” zones can provide consultancy, but such operations should be restricted to emergency and urgent treatment procedures only, the guidelines stated.

All routine and elective dental procedures should be deferred for a later review until new policy/guidelines are issued.

“Due to the high risk associated with the examination of the oral cavity, oral cancer screening under the National Cancer Screening programme should be deferred until new policy or guidelines are issued,” the ministry said.

(With PTI inputs)