Amid coronavirus, avoid nonessential dental care, WHO says

World Health Organization officials on Tuesday said routine, non-essential dental care should be delayed until there is a significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates.

However, the WHO advised that urgent or emergency dental care should be provided to prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital.

“The likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosol, micro-particles or airborne particles … today I think is unknown, it’s open to question at least. This means that more research is needed,” Benoit Varenne, a WHO dental officer, told reporters, per Reuters.

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Meanwhile, every state in the U.S. allowed dental offices to resume routine services and elective procedures in April or May, according to the American Dental Association.

Dental care involves aerosol-generating procedures, and infected airborne particles suspended in the air may cause infection if inhaled, the WHO said. (iStock)

Dental care involves aerosol-generating procedures, and infectious airborne particles suspended in the air may cause infection if inhaled, the WHO warned, adding that dental professionals are at high risk of COVID-19 infection or passing the infection to patients.

“Oral health care teams work in close proximity to patients’ faces for prolonged periods. Their procedures involve face-to-face communication and frequent exposure to saliva, blood and other body fluids and handling sharp instruments,” per the guidance.

Among other recommendations, the WHO advises virtually screening patients before their appointments so that only patients in need of urgent, emergency treatments are seen in the office.

Click here to see the WHO’s full guidance on dental care amid COVID-19.

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