Dental check-up safety debated amid COVID-19 pandemic

Top health organizations have disagreed over the safety of dental check-ups during the coronavirus pandemic, some arguing staff may get too close to patients.

The World Health Organization said dentists and their staff work so closely to the faces of patients that they are at high risk of being infected and at the same time, patients are at risk of having infections passed onto them.

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For that reason, the organization said cleanings and preventive care should be postponed for the time being.

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Dr. Jen Ashton weighs in on whether or not it's safe for a trip to the dentist.



"Routine non-essential care should be delayed until there has been significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates," they recommended.

Meanwhile, the American Dental Association strongly disagrees.

"Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is essential health care," dental association officials said.

Millions of patients have safely visited dentist offices during the pandemic to get a full range of dental work, according to the ADA. The association urged that regular dental care should continue with proper personal protective equipment.

Some dentists have stopped cleanings that produce aerosols like ultrasonic cleaning, and when our ABC13 Jeff Ehling went to the dentist last month, the entire staff was wearing PPE, including face shields.

Ehling said he took his son to the dentist Wednesday and had to wait in the car during his check-up. He said the staff was also wearing full PPE with face shields.

On the other hand, one father said there is no way he will send his kids to the dentist until community spread of COVID-19 has decreased.

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