CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The World Health Organization is urging the public to avoid routine dental work or aesthetic treatments during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, the American Dental Association is firing back, saying they respectfully, yet strongly, disagree with that recommendation.
The WHO is advising that routine, non-essential oral health care, which usually includes oral health check-ups, dental cleanings and preventative car, be delayed until there has been a sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmissions.
“I understand their position,” Barry Applegate, DDS, of Applegate Dentistry said, “but I think here in the U.S we have such great dental care, we follow all of the procedures to the tee. We wear our gowns and face masks, and there have not been any reports of people getting COVID from dental offices. So, easily I think it’s a great choice to go see your dentist.”
The American Dental Association says oral health is part and parcel with overall health, calling dentistry “essential health care.”
“On a regular basis we see people that have lots of co-morbidities,” he explained. “So they have different disease states, like diabetes and other things, that when we check on them and get their teeth cleaned up, they’re going to have a lot healthier life and taking care of their other healthcare problems too.”
The WHO also argues, because patients and dental workers are often in close facial proximity, the likelihood of transmitting the coronavirus increases.
Applegate counters precautions have been put in place against transmission.
“Probably the newest thing for most dental offices is a face shield,” he said. “So we have a solid face covering that’s over to. We wear our level 3 masks, our N95 masks, and we have suction. So, on top of that, we have lots of sterilization that takes place on a regular basis between the patients.”
Applegate acknowledges certain people shouldn’t be coming to the dentist, including elderly people or people who are already sick.
But as for the average person, he says coming in will prevent problems down the road. For example, keeping people in the cavity-free club!