Dentists fight back against WHO recommendation to postpone appointments

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The World Health Organization announced Tuesday you should probably cancel your upcoming dental cleanings during the pandemic. But the American Dental Association has responded saying “not so fast.”

Carrin Snook, a registered dental hygienist at Turner Dental Group geared up for her next patient Wednesday.

“We have our face shields, we have our scrubs that are laundered on site, we keep our shoes here,” she demonstrated.

The extra PPE and new protocols like temperature checks and questionnaires about potential COVID-19 exposure patients are asked to fill out before they even step in the door are just part of the measures dental offices around the country are taking to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But it’s apparently not enough for the World Health Organization which this week said check-ups, dental cleanings and preventive care could be postponed until there has been a significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission. Dr. Jaden Bailey disagrees.

“The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body and the systemic health, so I still think that is paramount in terms of keeping people healthy,” Bailey said.

He’s following the CDC and American Dental Association guidelines which responded to The WHO today saying dentistry is essential health care.

The ADA calls for technology like high evacuation suction machines to be used to reduce aerosol emissions. They are especially important for dental offices which have resumed practices like polishing.

“I just think it’s important that everyone knows that your dental office is most likely taking every measure possible to keep everyone safe,” Snook said.

The ADA says millions of Americans have received dental care safely since dentist offices reopened. An ADA survey shows dentists offices are currently seeing about 75 percent of the number of patients they were before the pandemic.

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