Dentists Push Back on WHO’s Call to Delay Check-ups

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay reporter

WEDNESDAY, August 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) – The World Health Organization has recommended postponing routine dental care during the coronavirus pandemic, but the American Dental Association (ADA) strongly disagrees.

“Oral health is an integral part of overall health. Dentistry is essential health care, ”said Dr Chad Gehani, ADA President. “Dentistry is an essential health care because of its role in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention or treatment of oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.”

When the coronavirus exploded in March, the ADA asked dentists to postpone all treatment except urgent and emergency treatments.

But on July 27, the association adopted an interim policy that dentistry is essential health care.

The ADA and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called on dentists to use personal protective equipment, such as masks, glasses and face shields.

The ADA also recommended that dentists use rubber dams and high-speed suction whenever possible and manual scaling instead of ultrasonic scaling when cleaning teeth.

“Millions of patients have safely visited their dentist over the past few months for the full range of dental services,” Gehani said in a press release from the association. “With appropriate PPE, dental care should continue to be provided during global pandemics or other disaster situations.”

On August 3, the WHO issued interim guidelines recommending that routine care – including cleanings – be delayed until “COVID-19 transmission rates have sufficiently declined.”

Dr Christopher Fox, CEO of the International Association for Dental Research and the American Association for Dental Research, said the WHO recommendation was not intended to replace local or national recommendations.

He added that preventive dental care should not be considered non-essential as the WHO has said.

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SOURCE: American Dental Association, press release, August 12, 2020

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