The emergence of the highly infectious novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to a global COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, worldwide healthcare systems have been severely challenged. The rapid and explosive surge of positive cases has significantly increased the demand for medical care. Herein we provide a perspective on the role dentists can play in voluntary medical assistance and future preparedness for a similar pandemic. Though dentists and physicians have different scopes of practice, their trainings share many similarities. Hence, dental professionals, with their knowledge of basic human science and sterile surgical techniques, are an invaluable resource in the COVID-19 pandemic response. Overall, it is commendable that many dentists have risen to the challenge in the fight against COVID-19. For example, in Singapore, National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) deployed dental clinicians as well as volunteers from research laboratories to screen for suspected cases, provide consultations as well as conduct swabbing operations. Dental practice will be considerably changed in the post-COVID-19 era. There is a greater need to have refresher courses for practicing dentists on new infection control strategies. Moreover, the curriculum in dental schools should be expanded to include competencies in pandemic and disaster relief. In addition, voluntary medical work should be made a part of the community dentistry curriculum. This volunteerism will leave a positive impact on developing the careers of young dentists. Hence, the contribution of dentists beyond dental practice in this pandemic situation will be appreciated by future generations.
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