The American Dental Association has issued a strongly worded statement in disagreement with a recent oral health guidance issued by the World Health Organization, which recommends that public health officials and dental providers delay nonessential dental care in areas of COVID-19 community spread.
In a post on the association's website, a statement reads, "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."
The statement points out that the ADA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued interim guidances that call for increased measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in dental settings.
ADA President Chad Gehani, DDS, is quoted in the statement, saying “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.”
The ADA statement does not directly address other aspects of the WHO guidance, such as its advisement that providers act "according to official recommendations at [the] national, sub-national or local level." Confusion has centered around this point, as it appears the WHO guidance may ultimately defer to local officials to make the best judgments about COVID-19 transmission risks in their communities' dental settings.
Additional information may be found here:
- World Health Organization advises delaying of nonessential dental care in areas of COVID-19 community transmission (DentistryIQ)
- Statement by ADA in response to WHO guidance (ADA website)
- Interim guidance on oral health services by WHO, issued August 3, 2020 (WHO website)
Editor's note: This is a developing story. Information will be added as it becomes available.
Zachary Kulsrud is the editorial director for Endeavor Business Media's dental group, publishers of Dental Economics, DentistryIQ, Perio-Implant Advisory, and RDH magazine.