WHO Revises Advice on COVID-19 and the Provision of Oral Health Services
Oral Health Services: A doctor’s ultimate mission is to save a life, but from 2019 December, medics have been fighting an elusive enemy- covid19. Since then, both doctors, particularly dentists, and the body that is responsible for healthy citizens, World Health Organizations have been experiencing dynamic changes on either side, especially on the regulations. Dentists had to focus on emergency despite working in a considerably stable and less critical health sector compared to other sectors, which are under constant pressure. Did this force the World Health Organization to change its advice on covid-19 and dentistry? Let us find out;
Is a dentist a non-essential medic?
Earlier on, when the covid-19 pandemic had started to wipe out humanity, the World Health Organization classified dentistry as a non-essential service, but could that work? As we all know, every clinical department is very important. In fact, the best way to understand that; one day, visit a hospital and find out that you are not served because that department was classified as non-essential by WHO, and they are temporarily out of commission! How would you feel? Pretty bad!
Dentists are dedicated health providers; hence they cannot stand seeing the functionality of their services being squeezed out of reach by WHO. Something to be done on the World Health Organization’s advice!
From non-essential to non-urgent
After a fruitful discussion between the World Dental Federation, the International Association for Dental Research on the WHO guidelines regarding covid-19, and the initial branding of the dentistry department as non-essential, the World Health Organization changed its advice from non-essential oral health care to non-urgent. This was the most positive news for dentists, especially in an era where everything was turned upside down due to covid-19.
Dentists are always at risk because they’re within the covid19 sphere of six feet radius as stipulated by WHO when dealing with their patients—these guidelines sort of providing advice on the management of patients during these apocalyptic times of covid-19.
The World Health Organization further advises that non-essential services like dental cleaning to be postponed until respective authorities manage to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The main reason for reducing the number of a patient visiting the dentist for minor issues like dental cleaning is to reduce the spread of Covid-19 from patient to patient and patient to doctor.
With the usage of the word non-essential by the World Health Organization, the ADA and various dental associations across the globe never approved it; therefore, they raised their concerns to the respective body. The FDA raised their issues on the basis that timely oral health care is essential in improving the quality of life by allowing early detection, prevention, and control of various diseases affecting our mouths.
Fortunately, the World Health Organization adopted a new guideline and advised that the dentistry department should be referred to as non-urgent- a more accurate and appropriate word. Finally, all the key role players had something to rejoice in amid a pandemic. FDA thanked its members and other key role players for their solidarity and helping public health fighting the covid-19 pandemic.