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New guidelines from World Health Organization says to delay routine dental visit during pandemic

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Should you delay your routine dental visit? According to new guidelines from the World Health Organization — the answer is yes.

New guidance from the World Health Organization is raising some eyebrows.

It urges that because of the way COVID-19 spreads, routine oral health visits like check-ups, cleanings and preventive care should be delayed.

But Berkeley dentist Dr. Thomas Arnold says preventive care is exactly why you shouldn’t skip your appointment.

“We’ve seen quite a bit of emergency. People have been putting off dentistry because of the virus. We had to have emergency extractions, wisdom teeth issues,” Dr. Arnold said.

Ever since reopening nearly three months ago, patients are screened for symptoms outside Dr. Arnold’s office and he practices through layers of protection.

“I have the N95, I have another mask over that, a face shield, a hair net over my head and special gowns and gloves. If dentists follow the regulations that OSHA lays out, I feel everyone should be safe to go to their dentist,” Arnold said.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Yvonne Maldonado agrees.

“Practices really just need to be very careful,” Maldonado said. 

She says during a pandemic, there’s always a risk and while the World Health Organization has put out it’s updated guidelines, they’re looking at the issue from a  global perspective where certain areas might not have proper PPE.

Dr. Maldonado says as long your dentist follows CDC protocol, and orders from local health departments, you should be safe to get your routine checkup.

“It’s really important to remember that dentists are really important for overall health,” Maldonado said. 

“We are essential workers and we have to take care of our population and dental care is just as important as any other care dealing with the body,” Arnold said. 

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