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The American Dental Association has disagreed with the WHO’s recommendation to defer “routine” dental care due to COVID-19. The association stated that oral health played an important role in maintaining overall health. Failure to treat oral diseases can affect an individual’s wellness.
The ADA Board of Trustees has earlier confirmed that dentistry was an essential health care. They reached the agreement during a video call on July 27. The House of Delegates is expected to adopt it as a resolution during its virtual meeting holding sometime in October.
However, Dr. Benoit Varenne, the WHO Chief Dental Officer has said that the recommendation was not intended to override existing guidelines at national or subnational level. He blamed the misunderstanding on the incomplete media coverage of the matter. He communicated this in an email he sent to the global dental leaders on August 13.
Dr. Varenne said the recommendation to delay routine oral health care was only suggested in an intense, uncontrolled community transmission scenario. That is, a scenario that does not fit with the current situation of most countries around the world. He appealed to the dental community to shun misleading information that could increase fear. And concern of patients seeking oral health care.
Also, Dr. Christopher H. Fox, CEO of the International Association for Dental Research and American Association for Dental Research said most of the media coverage of the matter omitted the fact that the guidance did not intend to override official recommendations at the national, sub-national or local level.
He noted that the ADA and the CDC have agreed on conditions for the safe delivery of oral health care. Thus, he announced that IADR and AADR would disagree with the recommendation.
What Has Been The Response Of American Dentists To The COVID-19 Pandemic?
As the U.S. Coronavirus cases began to increase in March. The ADA recommended dental professionals to postpone elective procedures. Only urgent and emergency care was permitted. The ADA said this was necessary to understand the disease. And consider its effect on dental patients and dental professionals.
They also issued interim guidance for dental professionals. The recommendation emphasized highest safety measures. They encouraged the use of the highest level of personal protective equipment. These include the use of masks, goggles and face shields. The ADA guidance also encouraged dental professionals to use rubber dams. And high-velocity suction anytime possible… as well as hand scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth.
Has Elective Dental Care Begun?
CDC released an interim reopening guidance for dental settings early August. This is an update of the previous interim guidance. The update was made based on the available information about the COVID-19 pandemic. And the current situation in the country.
The guidance requires dental healthcare facilities to operate under safe environments. Similar to the previous interim guidance. CDC recommends dentists to commit to adequate safety measures as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19.
The guidance states that dental settings should support the safety of both patients. And dental healthcare personnel (DHCP). It recommends infection prevention and control (IPC) practices for routine dental healthcare delivery. The guidance also suggests IPC practices. This is important when providing dental health care for a patient with suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection.
What Should You Consider When Seeking Dental Care During COVID-19?
The number of COVID-19 cases are increasing every day. People can contract the virus anywhere. This includes negligent dental offices that don’t observe a high level of safety. Patients could contract the virus through body substances. And contaminated medical supplies or contaminated environmental surfaces.
Make sure the dental office you visit is safety conscious. They must have measures to protect you from exposure to the virus. A dental office committed to safety should make provision for the following:
- Airborne infection isolation rooms
- Surgical face masks or N95 face masks
- Strict adherence to social distancing
- Rooms for one client at a time
In need of routine or emergency dental care? Get in touch with our experienced dentists today. We provide top-notch dental care services. Clients receive treatments under the safest conditions. Click here to book an appointment.