WHO: Avoid routine dental visits until COVID-19 transmission is controlled

The World Health Organization released interim guidance advising patients delay routine dental visits until the pandemic is more under control.

The guidance urges patients to delay preventative and cosmetic oral procedures "until there has been sufficient reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates from community transmission to cluster cases or according to official recommendations at national, sub-national or local level."

WHO explained how easily viruses can be spread via aerosols produced by dental instruments, causing dental settings to put patients and staff at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Oral health care teams work in close proximity to patients' faces for prolonged periods," the global health body wrote. "Their procedures involve face-to-face communication and frequent exposure to saliva, blood, and other body fluids and handling sharp instruments. Consequently, they are at high risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 or passing the infection to patients."

WHO noted that patients should still seek out oral care in emergency cases that bring about severe pain or threaten their health.

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