Monkeypox can be diagnosed by a dental examination
Dentists are excellently positioned to diagnose monkeypox during routine dental examinations. Patients regularly return to their dentists for periodontal cleaning and periodic oral examinations. Monkeypox can present initially as an oral rash on the tongue and soft tissues, clinically recognized by lesions and ulcers on the tongue, mucous membranes and at the corners of the mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert for health care professionals to watch carefully for signs and symptoms of monkeypox in the patient population.
Monkeypox signs and symptoms
Dentists should examine patients looking specifically for the following signs and symptoms:
- oral sores and ulcers
- rashes and lesions on the tongue
- mucous membrane rashes
- ulcers at the corners of the mouth
- sequential development of macules, papules, vesicles, and pustules
- flu-like symptoms
- lymph gland soreness and swelling
Dental Infection Control and monkeypox
Infection control procedures should be strictly followed to prevent the potential spread of monkeypox in the dental office. There are currently no reports of transmission of monkeypox in dental offices. CDC protocols for the prevention of transmission of Covid-19 are appropriate for the prevention of the spread of monkeypox. Dentists and other dental professionals should continue wearing appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves, gowns, safety glasses, shields, and hair covering. Special care should be taken by dental professionals whenever aerosol-producing procedures are performed.
For additional information regarding proper office procedures to prevent the spread of monkeypox reference the dental continuing education courses: