World Health Organization recommends suspending routine dental services to reduce virus spread

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The World Health Organization has encouraged dental providers across the world to suspend routine dental services to minimise the risk of spreading Coronavirus. 

Lockdowns introduced in countries all over the world contributed to practices shutting for months, but in many nations, surgeries are now open. In the UK, in line with national guidelines and WHO recommendations, the majority of practices are currently providing a limited range of services, with routine treatments, for example, check-ups, not yet available.

WHO research suggests that there have been either partial or complete suspensions of dental services in 75% of the 103 countries that participated in a recent survey. The poll was carried out to determine the impact of the virus in different countries. The nature of dental treatment and the proximity of dental professionals to patients pose significant risks, and most countries took swift action to close practices and shut down all non-essential services once case numbers started to increase in spring.

Benoit Varenne, dental officer at the WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, explained that there has been a significant level of disruption due to the risks posed by carrying out face-to-face dental treatments, some of which generate and spread droplets. 

In areas where the virus is still an issue, the WHO recommends a continued suspension of routine services and encourages practices to prioritise patients with urgent needs. 

UK practices are gradually expanding services, but many dentists have said that it could be a while before it is possible for patients to be able to pick up the phone and book a routine check-up.

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