National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to highlight the urgent need for research on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) conducted in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN). NIDCR will place a high priority on topics that would be of immediate and high impact to protect and ensure the safety of personnel and patients in dental practices, prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and improve detection and diagnosis of COVID-19. Successful X01 applicants will be given access to the National Dental PBRN infrastructure to support an individual project. Successful applications will utilize the resources of and be funded through the National Dental PBRN Administrative and Resource Center and/or National Coordinating Center for study planning and implementation.
New knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility, stability on surfaces, viral particle size, and presence in saliva have catalyzed a need to consider how the practice of dentistry will be performed in the near and long-term future. Dental practice today involves close person-to-person contact and procedures that produce aerosols. Many practice environments are in non-hospital settings and utilize open-concept layouts. These characteristics markedly increase the potential for viral transmission via aerosols or droplets. The American Dental Association has urged dental offices to remain closed during the pandemic except for emergency care, and recent polls have indicated that over 95% of surveyed dentists have followed this recommendation. During this time, the lack of oral care may exacerbate existing oral health problems. Importantly, the practice of dentistry must transform in the presence of COVID-19 and prepare for future pandemics.