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ADA Statement on Dentistry as Essential Health Care
CHICAGO, August 10, 2020 — A new interim policy from the American Dental Association (ADA) states dentistry is an “essential health care service,” reaffirming that oral health has long been recognized as an integral part of overall health.
“Whether it’s the current pandemic, a future epidemic or a natural disaster in a particular area, this policy recognizes the need for people to be able to continue to access the full range of dental services,” said ADA President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S. “Oral health is integral to overall health — staying well depends on having access to health care, which includes dental treatment.”
Dr. Gehani added that regular dental visits are important because treatment, as well as prevention of dental disease, helps keep people healthy. “Beyond teeth and gums, the mouth also serves as a window to the rest of the body and can show signs of infection, nutritional deficiencies and systemic diseases,” he said.
The policy includes the following:
- Oral health is an integral component of systemic health.
- Dentistry is an essential health care service because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.
- The term “Essential Dental Care” be defined as any care that prevents and eliminates infection, preserves the structure and function of teeth as well as orofacial hard and soft tissues. Orofacial generally refers to the mouth, jaws and face.
- Essential dental care should continue to be delivered during global pandemics or other disaster situations.
- Government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have acknowledged dentistry as an essential service needed to maintain the health of Americans so they can sustain their health and livelihoods and live resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response. State agencies or officials be urged to recognize the oral health workforce when designating its essential workforce during public health emergencies, in order to assist them in protecting the health of their constituents.
For more information and to read the full policy, visit ADA.org.
For more information about oral health, visit the ADA’s website for consumers, MouthHealthy.org.
Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn
Resources and help to Navigate the Pandemic
The UDA is very proud to have been influential and recognized by the governor to have been a major factor in reopening of dental and medical offices. We are certain the offices following the ADA recommendations are finding the patients appreciate your efforts and feel comfortable to return to the dental office’s that are taking those recommended precautions.
The Utah Dental Association and the American Dental Association have been the #1 advocates for dentistry in these unprecedented times. Many state and national efforts have been made to help dental professionals manage the Covid pandemic and the effects on the dental offices. The dental community and situation would look very different without the ADA and UDA’s help and influence.
We continually want to remind all Dentists and their Dental Team members to visit ADA.org/virus often to see frequent updates and tools available to help patients and staff feel they are doing their best to minimize risks during dental treatments during this pandemic. New information becomes available almost daily.
Other Government Resources
CDC: COVID-19: Guidance for Dental Settings: View
CDC Recommendations: View
What to do if COVID-19 impacts your employment: View
Dept of Workforce Services information on COVID-19: View
Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Coronavirus: View
Utah’s Low Risk Phase
Most of Utah is now in the low risk, or yellow phase, which includes specific guidelines for individuals and businesses
Entering the Low Risk Phase of the recovery in Utah does not change the precautions in place for patient and dental staff safety. The precautions are identical to the high-risk phase. Use sound professional judgment when making decisions to treat or delay treatment for each situation.
During these unprecedented times, there has been a flood of information become available. It’s difficult to determine what information is the best and applicable. We recommend seeking information from reliable sources. And always check with your own professional advisors when making business decisions. The UDA is working hard to bring you the most reliable and latest information. At this time, the following seems to be reliable resources of which have great information.
Continuing Education and License Renewal info
To understand the Sedation level parameters when determining the level of licensure classification to be used in your practice – Go to: ADA Guidelines for Sedation and Anesthesia