HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The World Health Organization is urging dentist offices to close just as other businesses have as a result of the pandemic.
WHO advises that non-essential oral health care stop until COVID-19 cases decline to avoid the spread of the virus.
“We’ve stepped up… cleaning more frequently and less patients waiting,” said Dr. David.
He’s a retired dentist from Raymondville and said offices across the Valley are taking precaution.
“Dentistry is essential healthcare you can’t close up [the] shop,” he said.
More than 160,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. The WHO recommends checks ups and preventive care should temporarily stop but The American Dental Association disagrees.
Today, they release a full statement saying:
The American Dental Association (ADA) respectfully yet strongly disagrees with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to delay “routine” dental care in certain situations due to COVID-19.
Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is essential health care,” states ADA President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S. “Dentistry is essential health care because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.
Dr. Gehani added that in March, when COVID-19 cases began to rise in the U.S., the ADA called for dentists to postpone all but urgent and emergency care in order to understand the disease, consider its effect on dental patients, dental professionals and the greater community.
Both the ADA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) then issued interim guidance for dental professionals related to COVID-19. The ADA’s guidance calls for the highest level of PPE available—masks, goggles and face shields. The ADA’s interim guidance also calls for the use of rubber dams and high-velocity suction whenever possible and hand scaling when cleaning teeth rather than using ultrasonic scaling to minimize aerosols.
Dr. Gehani concludes, “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.”
Dr. David said Valley dental offices have followed CDC guidelines by enforcing masks for patients entering the building, removing toys and magazines from waiting rooms and providing hand sanitizer.
Dr. David believes dentist should continue to help those in need.
Dentists also have implemented remote screenings. You’re urged to contact your doctor to find which option is best for you.