The risk of transmission through aerosols, WHO warns of delay to dentists

JawaPos.com – The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on people to delay going to the dentist if it is not an emergency. A delay is recommended until the transmission rate of Covid-19 drops significantly.

The WHO also warned the public about the risk of dental procedures that might result in aerosol sprays from the patient’s mouth. According to WHO, dental cleaning and preventive care can be postponed. They have already released guidelines for dentists on how to minimize the risk of transmission during the pandemic.

In addition, WHO said that there are several procedures in the oral health care system that can be done by minimizing aerosols or micro-droplets hanging in the air.

Reporting from Science Times, Thursday (13/8), the guidelines issued by the WHO state that routine non-essential oral health care including oral health checks, dental cleaning and preventive care must be postponed until the Covid-19 transmission rate drops significantly. Furthermore, the same guidelines should be applied for aesthetic dental care. However, dentists are still permitted to perform operations in situations where immediate care is required to maintain oral function, manage severe pain, and ensure quality of life.

They also mentioned that it would be better if patients could be screened remotely before their doctor’s appointment. This is because the front dentist is face to face with the patient’s mouth.

Dental care involves close face-to-face communication and exposure to the patient’s saliva, blood, other bodily fluids, and the sharp instruments they use frequently during the procedure. As a result, dentists are at high risk of contracting or transmitting the infection to their patients.

For example, aerosol-generating procedures such as tooth cleaning using ultrasonic scalers and polishing work with high or low speed hand pieces. Surgical extraction of teeth, and implant placement. This situation increases the chance of transmission if one of the patients or doctors is already infected.

WHO has included in a manual for dentists treating dentures and damaged orthodontic equipment as well as caries or tartar. So that it can minimize aerosols.

WHO Head of Dentistry, Benoit Varenne, said oral health is an neglected part of the health sector in many countries. “Globally, the latest available estimates suggest that 3.5 billion people have oral disease,” said Varenne.

The most common oral health condition in humans is untreated dental caries in permanent teeth. According to Varenne, a survey showed that 75 percent of WHO member countries said that dental services in their countries had been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Not to mention the lack of personal protective equipment for dentists working during the pandemic,” said Varenne.

Editor: Banu Adikara

Reporter: Marieska Harya Virdhani

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