Chicago Sun-Times | August 27, 2020

The World Health Organization has recommended that patients delay routine oral care due to COVID-19. As a dental specialist at Associated Dental Specialists and professor at Northwestern University, I strongly disagree, and I want to tell you why.

First, oral care is essential. Poor oral health can lead to systemic health problems. Routine dental care now may prevent serious medical issues later. It has also been reported that poor dental health and periodontal (gum) disease may worsen the outcome of patients with COVID-19.

Second, dentists are infectious disease control experts who have implemented extraordinary safety measures. When you go to your dentist, the office will not look the same. We have put in place exhaustive new procedures, including advanced personal protective equipment and enhanced infection control procedures.

Third, patients trust us to keep them safe. In July, North American Dental Group, a dental service organization supporting more than 230 dental practices including ours, commissioned a national survey in which most patients indicated they trust their dentist to protect them from COVID-19.

We have not taken lightly the immense responsibility we have to protect our patients. We are confident that we can safely care for all patients during this crisis.