The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) the ADA, and the Academy of General Dentists (AGD), disagree with the WHO’s strict guidelines.
“It is well-established science that periodontal disease and systemic disease are interconnected. As a result, establishing and maintaining healthy teeth and gums is fundamental to overall health,” said Dr. Bryan Frantz, AAP president.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, members of the AAP are adhering to COVID-19 mandates issued by state and local agencies and implementing additional measures to ensure the safety of both their patients and their staff,” said Frantz.
Meanwhile, the ADA said in a statement that it “respectfully yet strongly disagrees” with WHO’s recommendations to delay “routine” dental care in some circumstances due to the pandemic.
“Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is essential healthcare,” said ADA president Chad P. Gehani, DDS, “Dentistry is essential healthcare because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing, or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.”
Representing nearly 40,000 general dentists, the AGD recommends that patients continue routine dental care, restoration treatment plans, and emergency procedures during the pandemic to ensure the maintenance of oral hygiene.
“Dental offices also follow strict safety precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment and other tools that reduce risk of disease transmission,” she said.
Disagreeing with WHO guidelines discouraging the public from seeking essential care, the AGD said, patients should maintain their dental appointments for routine cleanings or conditions that cause pain. Delaying a dental visit may create further health issues and long-term problems, the AGD added.