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American Dental Association Responds to World Health Organization Recommendation: Dentistry is Essential Health Care

August 12, 2020

Contact Information:
mediarelations@ada.org

CHICAGO, August 12, 2020 —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.”

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org