WHO calls for Postponing some Dental Procedures

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that routine non-essential dental procedures should be postponed until transmission of COVID-19 is sufficiently reduced.

“WHO advises to postpone routine nonessential oral hygiene, which usually includes oral examinations, brushing teeth and  preventive care, until there has been a sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates from community-to-cluster transmission,” the statement said. …

The United Nations health agency said that now that dental services have resumed in many countries, certain procedures must be performed in such a way as to minimise the spread of micro-droplets in the air. For this purpose, a guide has been issued for dentists, which describes how to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus during a pandemic.

“The same applies to aesthetic dental treatment. However, urgent or urgent oral care interventions should be carried out, which are vital to preserve human oral function, relieve severe pain or ensure quality of life,” WHO explained.

Experts have advised dentists and patients to remotely examine the oral cavity, if possible.

Dangerous proximity

Dentists are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 in the statement.

“Dentists work in close proximity to patient’s faces for a long time. Treatments involve face-to-face communication and frequent exposure to saliva, blood and other body fluids, as well as working with sharp instruments. Therefore, they are at high risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 or transmitting the infection to patients."

Aerosol generating procedures include brushing teeth with an ultrasonic scaler and polishing, working with high speed or low speed handpieces, surgical tooth extraction, and implant placement. The guide lists treatments for broken dentures and orthodontic appliances and extensive dental caries that minimises or eliminates the use of aerosols.

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At the same time, WHO chief dentist Benoit Varennes said that dental diseases in many countries are a health problem that is not given due attention.

“Globally, the latest available estimate is that 3.5 billion people are affected by oral diseases,” he said. "Untreated caries in permanent teeth is the most common disease in humans."

Varennes said that in a survey, 75% of WHO Member States said dental services had been completely or partially stopped during the pandemic.

He also expressed concern about the availability of personal protective equipment for dentists working during the pandemic.

Source: medicalxpress.com


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