Dental Care and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Precautionary Principle and the Best Available Evidence
The precautionary principle is part of evidence-based healthcare and is used both preventively and therapeutically when there is no available evidence about how to manage problems/diseases/conditions that are especially life-threatening. However, since it is not always based in the most qualified evidence, it is frequently questioned. The emergence of a highly contagious disease, with increased levels of morbimortality, an acute respiratory syndrome, the so called Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), led health professionals to look for the best alternatives to save lives. In this sense, the precautionary principle was evocated. The aim of this paper is to make a reflection about the precautionary principle, the dental profession and COVID-19. It is important to have in mind that in such a disease, guidelines, protocols and approaches can change very fast, since a continuous evaluation of all policies is mandatory. During the pandemic, elective procedures may be restricted, but international organizations removed the recommendation to postpone elective procedures. Clinicians are advised to be updated about their local current policies. On the other hand, there are cases in which in-office dental care is unavoidable, such as individuals with pain, spontaneous bleeding and dental trauma. Biosafety is upmost importance when seeking patients during pandemic. In this sense, it was concluded that precautionary principle should be, therefore, used. However, caution needs to be taken and continuous surveillance necessary.