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COVID-19 and the Dental World

Mar 24, 2020

By Dean George

Knowing what we do about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it spreads, it’s no surprise that it’s having a significant impact in the world of dentistry. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) announced March 16th it was recommending nationwide that dentists postpone elective procedures for a three-week period from March 16-April 5. 

The ADA says its directive would allow dentists and their staff to care for emergency patients and “alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.” 

In early April, the ADA said it would re-evaluate the situation and update its recommendation on an ongoing basis as new information develops. 

“The American Dental Association recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19,” according to the March 16 statement from ADA President, Chad P. Gehani. “The ADA is deeply concerned for the health and well-being of the public and the dental team.” 

Dental schools are part of that dental team collaboratively banging elbows as part of COVID-19 prevention.  Several of them are reportedly taking proactive steps to keep students and patients safe while working collectively to help stem the spreading of COVID-19. 

These efforts include moving classes online, practicing social distancing and extending spring break an extra week.  Dental schools are also canceling seminars and other events, urging students and staff to stay home if they’re sick and use required protective equipment in clinical environments.

Several schools are also requesting students and professors returning from abroad to self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days - longer if symptoms are detected. 

The University of the Pacific announced it was offering remote instruction through the end of the current academic year and suspending all sports competition. 

“One of the best ways to prevent the spread of viral illness is to minimize the circumstance in which individuals may interact and transmit disease,” Ohio State University President, Michael V. Drake, M.D. said in a message to students and faculty. 

While many media continue to report the virus like its Orson Welles’ War of the World radio broadcast, dental offices across the country are working closely with patients to ensure they get the treatment they need without risking unnecessarily spreading the virus.  

As of this writing, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have reported 41,511 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 400 deaths.   

While COVID-19 is a new type of flu, for perspective consider this:  In February of this year the CDC predicted that at least 12,000 Americans will die of the flu in any given year.  An estimated 61,000 died of the flu in 2017-18, and 45 million, or slightly more than one in seven people, were infected.   

Photo sources:  Western Wisconsin Health, WHEC TV 

Copyright 2020, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC© 


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