With the entire world still in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and a vaccine seemingly months away for widespread circulation, rapid testing for Coronavirus appears to be the key to opening up society and making it safer for people to return to a new normal, and that includes going to a dentist.

“If we had an inexpensive and fast way to test every patient coming through our doors, we could greatly improve patient safety,” said Dr. Tony Thomas, lead dentist at Advanced Smile Care in North Central San Antonio. 

Rapid COVID-19 tests are already in use, but they are not widely available in the United States. Here are a few of these tests:


This test was developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, and received authorized emergency use in August by the Food and Drug Administration. The test was funded by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. According to Statnews.com, the test can run approximately 90 samples in fewer than three hours in a lab. But if scaled larger with automation, the test has the potential to have a greater impact. The use of this test facilitated the resumption of the 2019-2020 NBA season in August of 2020.  


COVI-TRACE is a saliva test developed by Columbia University that detects SARS-CoV-2 virus in as little as 30 minutes from a sample of saliva. . The school entered into a licensing agreement with Sorrento Therapeutics for the rights to the test. Sorrento Therapeutics says the test can detect the virus in just thirty minutes and does not need a lab.

“Imagine if we had this test in our hands at every dental practice in the U.S.,” said Dr. Thomas. “We could administer the test to a patient and have them wait in their car while we wait for the results.” Not only would a patient know their Coronavirus test result, but all other patients and employees could have greater confidence that they will be enterring an evironment that is virus-free.

Sorrento Therapeutics reports COVI-TRACE demonstrated sensitivity and specificity of 97% and 100%, respectively, in a preliminary study.


This rapid COVID-19 test was developed by Abbott Laboratories. Abbott says the test, combined with a mobile app called NAVICA, could be used like a secure digital “boarding pass” that could be scanned where people gather. Their test is said to produce a positive or negative coronavirus test result in as little as 15 minutes. Abbott says they hope to ship tens of millions of tests in September, ramping up production to 50 million tests a month in October.

“It is important to note that there has not been a single case of COVID-19 linked to treatment received at a dentist office in the United States,” stated Dr. Thomas. “However, dentists have always been at the forefront of patient safety, and these rapid tests could certainly help to ensure even greater infection control.”

If you have a question about your gums, your teeth, or your smile, we are here to help you at Advanced Smile Care. We have been providing top-tier dental care to San Antonio and to South Central Texas for nearly 40 years. Send your questions and comments to askthedentist@advancedsmilecare.com.

Call us at (210) 366-3606 and get started

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