WHO suggests delaying dental care during pandemic, angering some dentists

The World Health Organization released interim guidelines earlier this month suggesting that routine oral health care visits should be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Aug 14, 2020, 3:08 AM

Updated 1,339 days ago

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The World Health Organization released interim guidelines earlier this month suggesting that routine oral health care visits should be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO says that non-essential health care, including dental cleanings, should be delayed until there is a sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates, or according to official recommendations at national, sub-national or local levels. It is a suggestion that is panned by some dentists.
“We vehemently oppose the position,” says New Jersey Dental Association president Dr. Mitchell Weiner. “That's just irresponsible and it is irresponsible for the health and the oral health of New Jerseyans."
Weiner says that he considers routine dental care to be essential for oral health.
“Since we’ve been back since May 26, we have seen, you know, people who have had minor problems that have escalated into more costly invasive procedures,” Weiner says. “We’re very confident that routine care should be delivered and we’re very confident that we can deliver it in a safe environment.”
Weiner says that the association’s members have been advised to adhere to local and CDC infection control guidelines.
“We’re pretty much behind plexiglass with very, very high filtration masks on, so the transmission from employee or dentist to a patient is almost nonexistent,” he says.
The American Dental Association released a statement this week say that the association “respectfully, yet strongly disagrees with the World Health Organization’s recommendation.”
“To date, there has been no public reporting of any clusters of COVID-19 transmissions in the dental office setting in the country,” Weiner says.
Weiner says that the WHO’s guidelines were unexpected, but also provided dentists with another essential opportunity to underscore the importance of oral healthcare.


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