The Minnesota Dental Association (MDA) encourages patients to continue routine dental care during COVID-19, saying dentistry is essential health care and that appropriate patient protections are in place at clinics across the state.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On August 12, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) released a statement strongly disagreeing with the World Health Organization’s recent recommendation to delay routine dental care in certain situations due to COVID-19. The ADA notes that oral health is integral to overall health and that dentistry is essential health care due to its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases. The MDA strongly supports the ADA’s recommendation not to delay oral care and ensures Minnesota patients that appropriate patient protections are in place in dental clinics across the state.
“Ensuring patient safety has been and always will be of utmost importance to dentists in Minnesota,” says Dr. Stephen McDonnell, president of the Minnesota Dental Association. “Since being allowed to reopen in May, dental clinics have been practicing increased safety precautions and incorporating social distancing and virus mitigation measures. Patients can feel assured when receiving routine oral care or necessary dental procedures during this time in Minnesota.”
Dental providers in Minnesota resumed elective and non-emergency dental procedures in May pursuant to Governor Walz Executive Order 20-51. Providers are required by the Minnesota Board of Dentistry to develop facility plans that outline all safety precautions being employed by the facility in the return to care. The facility plan requirements reflect current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) infection control guidelines which support resuming dental care. In an August 4th statement the CDC noted that “Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel.” The Board of Dentistry regulates dental professionals in the state of Minnesota and has monitored, and continues to monitor, the COVID situation and its impacts on the provision of dental care so as to preserve the health and safety of dental patients being served.
Dental practices are no strangers to employing proper infection control procedures. With enhanced safety protocols, dental practices are arguably one of the safest environments you could encounter. Clinics across the state have adapted in-office procedures to limit the number of patients and appointments. Space has been increased, and necessary barriers have been put in place. Finally, dental staff are regularly screened and are outfitted in enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) during patient contact.
As always, patients should feel comfortable reaching out to their dentist if they have any questions or concerns regarding an upcoming dental visit. Forgoing dental care can have a systemic impact on a patient’s health. It’s important to remember that oral health is an integral component to overall health and is an essential health care service.
The Minnesota Dental Association is the voice of dentistry in Minnesota, representing practicing dentists. It is committed to the highest standards of oral health and access to care for all Minnesotans. You can learn more at www.mndental.org.