Many have asked about the safety of dental treatment in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. As people around the globe navigate these troubled waters, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued questionable guidance urging patients in areas with community transmission of COVID-19 to forego routine dental care.
However, I respectfully disagree with the advice given by the WHO in this instance — and I’m not alone. Since the August 3 statement from the WHO, dental professionals and organizations across the U.S. have pushed back against the recommendation that “non-essential” dental care be delayed, including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
When the COVID epidemic arrived on the scene, we had to do our part — along with many of you — to help flatten the curve. We followed the direction of our elected officials and the ADA to keep everyone safe.
So what’s different now?
We are better prepared. We now know what we are dealing with and what precautions to take. And we are equipped to operate safely. We’ve implemented numerous measures to keep patients and staff safe (see our practice guidelines here), and we have the PPE (personal protective equipment) that was in very short supply when the outbreak started.
We have complete confidence in our team’s ability to care for our patients while minimizing risk of coronavirus exposure, and the ADA agrees.
In response to the WHO guidance, ADA President Chad P. Gehani pointed out that oral health affects our overall wellness: “Dentistry is essential health care because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health. … Millions of patients have safely visited their dentists in the past few months for the full range of dental services. With appropriate PPE, dental care should continue to be delivered during global pandemics or other disaster situations.”
The purpose of preventive pediatric dentistry is to keep your child’s dental health optimal by preventing plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. Delaying dental care may put your child’s health at risk, as small problems escalate to big problems and require more extensive treatment down the road.
Don’t wait until your child suffers from an aching tooth before bringing them to the dentist. Help us teach children from the beginning that good oral health translates to a healthy body.