Is a Dentist Appointment Safe Right Now?

Shaniqua Juliano

Going to the dentist has never been what we’d call a good time, but, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a more loaded endeavor than ever. After all, there’s no way to mask up while getting your teeth cleaned, which means you’re more vulnerable to potential coronavirus exposure than you might be in other health care scenarios. As a result, you may be questioning whether or not to make that appointment.

On August 3, the World Health Organization (WHO) supported that impulse to postpone dentist check-ups. In response to COVID-19 transmission rate increases, the United Nations agency released new guidance regarding oral health care, recommending that routine dental care—check-ups, cleaning, and other preventative services—be avoided. Essential visits like oral emergencies should continue to be scheduled.

The reasoning behind this type of caution, explains Timothy Brewer, MD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA, is that dentists, hygienists, and patients are at

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