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Local dentists disagree with WHO recommendation to postpone visits

Local dentists said they be routine visits can be important to someone’s overall health.

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — The World Health Organization has recommended that routine dental visits should be postponed in areas with high COVID-19 numbers, but not everyone agrees.

This week, the American Dental Association stated that it “respectfully yet strongly disagrees" with WHO’s recommendation, describing dentistry as “essential health care.”

Local dentists said they be routine visits can be important to someone’s overall health.

“There are a lot of oral manifestations of general diseases; diabetes, some cancers, some liver diseases,” said Dr. David Kimberly, president-elect with the Ohio Dental Association. “There are all types of diseases that are often caught by dentists before their general physicians.”

Dr. Chris Theodorou with Strongsville Dental and Laser Aesthetics believes dentists should take extra precautions to protect their team and patients against COVID-19.

“In my mind, it’s the dentist’s obligation to talk the precautions to invest in their office to keep the patient, staff out of harm’s way,” said Theodorou.

Theodorou said he’s added additional “clean air technology” and other items to his office after closing for several months during the pandemic. He recommends patients call ahead before scheduling a dental appointment to see what steps are in place to protect against COVID-19.

“You can go to the dentist but your dentist needs to be fully equipped with different types of filtration systems that allow you to get in there to feel comfortable.”

While the WHO recommended routine visits be postponed, the organization did note that people should go to the dentist for urgent or emergency dental issues.