Amidst the Pandemic, the Founder of the “Dental Aligners System” Advocates that All of Dentistry is Essential

February 09 18:00 2021
Amidst the Pandemic, the Founder of the "Dental Aligners System" Advocates that All of Dentistry is Essential
The Dental Aligners System is one of the leading digital marketing agencies serving dentists and orthodontists.

The Dental Aligners System is one of the leading digital marketing agencies serving dentists and orthodontists. Focused on helping clinics grow their number of clear aligner treatments performed, the Dental Aligners System is always expanding and updating its services to best serve the needs of its growing client base of practitioners who require expertise in the management of certain areas including increasing the number of proposed clear aligner treatment plans and digital marketing surrounding clear aligners and SEO.

On March 18th of last year, the American Dental Association (ADA) issued guidance calling on dentists nationwide to “postpone elective procedures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, across the country.” 

The guide was meant to provide additional guidance following an Association recommendation that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures to do their part to “mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” It was included as part of an ADA issues alert that went to all dentists in the ADA’s database.

Dental emergencies, according to the ADA, “are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” Conditions include uncontrolled bleeding; cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intraoral or extraoral swelling that potentially compromises the patient’s airway; or trauma that potentially compromises the patient’s airway.

A few examples of urgent dental care treatments that were initially approved as essential treatment, which “focus on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments,” are:

• Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation.

• Pericoronitis or third-molar pain.

• Surgical postoperative osteitis or dry socket dressing changes.

• Abscess or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling.

• Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma.

• Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation.

• Dental treatment cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation.

Other emergency dental care includes “extensive caries or defective restorations causing pain; suture removal; denture adjustments on radiation/oncology patients; denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded; replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain; and snipping or adjustments of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa.” Source: ADA

“The American Dental Association recognizes the unprecedented and extraordinary circumstances dentists and all health care professionals face related to growing concern about COVID-19,” according to the March 16 statement from ADA President Chad P. Gehani. “Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments.”

Shortly after, all dental offices were to voluntarily suspend non-urgent or non-emergency dental care as per the state guidelines derived from the World Health Organization’s guidelines. Dental service offices were one of the first medical practices to be recommended to close, shortly after ENT doctors. There’s a divide between the individual states – going back and forth between dentists, the WHO, the ADA and the CDC, the American Dental Association strongly disagreed with the guidance, emphasizing that dentistry is essential health care. The American Dental Association released the following statement regarding WHO’s recommendation:

The American Dental Association (ADA) respectfully yet strongly disagrees with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to delay “routine” dental care in certain situations due to COVID-19. 

“Oral health is integral to overall health. Dentistry is essential health care,” states ADA President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S. “Dentistry is essential health care because of its role in evaluating, diagnosing, preventing or treating oral diseases, which can affect systemic health.” 

The ADA adopted their new stance in a summer meeting, when dentists were eager to be seen as essential. The terms of their policy broadly define essential dental care as “any care that prevents and eliminates infection, preserves the structure and function of teeth as well as the orofacial hard and soft tissues.” They recommended the term be used in advocacy instead of some previous terms: emergency dental care and elective dental care. 

Not only preventive care is dentistry essential, but also in restorative care – when someone fractures their teeth and exposes the nerve or cuts their mouth open, they are prone to infection. This is no different than if you accidentally cut your hand with a deep abrasive cut while cooking – you go to the emergency room to get it checked out. Same with the former situation – you go to the dentist. 

Not to mention, dentistry is also essential because people need to smile during these times! A dentist can perform cosmetic procedures to make smiles shine even brighter, with whitening and clear aligners being the most sought after elective treatments. 

Today, 96% of dental staff are back in office and almost all America’s dentists are back in office, with patients coming a lot less. “I don’t see an imminent solution to the COVID problem,” ADA vice president Marko Vujicic says. 

“ADA projections show a 38% reduction in the dental industry overall for 2020 and up to a 20% reduction for 2021—assuming no major changes to the status quo over the winter. Given these figures, he says, the current volume of dental practices isn’t sustainable.”

“Our latest analysis doesn’t paint such a rosy picture,” he says. 

However, dental professionals are ready to work alongside other healthcare personnel to protect their communities. Those who are able, have training and storage capabilities, can and should be among the professionals administering the vaccine to those most in need.

Allowing dental professionals to perform a service they are able and qualified to perform could increase the number of vaccine administrators by the tens of thousands. Excluding these qualified providers may result in prolonging the crisis because appointments will be so booked up.

For too long, oral health has been treated as an afterthought to overall healthcare, when the fact is that oral health is overall health. Poor oral health has a direct link to higher risks of chronic illnesses. That’s why dentists took extraordinary steps to ensure that they could return to offering safe, preventive oral health treatment during this pandemic. And there’s new evidence that preventive oral health care mitigates some of the greatest risks of COVID-19.

As for dentists, and for all those who work with dentists, including the Dental Aligners System, we know and have known that all dentistry is essential. 

Note: View the CDC’s Guidelines for Dental Settings for more information

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