NADG to WHO: It's safe to visit the dentist

Dr. Andrew Matta, founding partner and Chief Medical Officer at North American Dental Group, speaks with a patient at Refresh Dental on Wilmington Road in Neshannock Township.

A New Castle-based dentistry practice is rebuking a World Health Organization recommendation for patients to delay dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

North American Dental Group, which has its resource center inside the Centennial Building at the corner of Washington and Mill streets, said in a release it strongly disagrees with the WHO, saying there is no evidence routine dental care has contributed to the spread of COVID-19.

“Routine care is often preventive care and it is extremely important in helping to avoid oral infections and diseases, which could impact a person’s quality of life,” Dr. Andrew Matta, NADG co-founder and chief medical officer, said. “This pandemic has proven that it is time for dentistry to be recognized as a form of essential health care.”

Matta said dentists across the NADG network have put in place exhaustive safety procedures including personal protective equipment for staff and thorough sanitization of evaluation rooms. 

In July, NADG commissioned a national survey in which 60 percent of respondents said they were comfortable visiting a dentist for a routine cleaning or check-up, more than double the percentage from a similar NADG survey conducted in April. In that same July survey, 64 percent of respondents said they believe their dentist knows how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, up from 42 percent in the April survey.

From the onset of the pandemic, NADG established advanced infection control procedures and diagnostic screenings upon reopening practices in May and June after office shutdowns. NADG also expanded the scope of services for dentists to administer COVID-19 tests.

“It is safe to visit your dentist,” Matta said. “Because of our commitment to safety and best-in-class care, many of our patients are making appointments to ensure they receive proper oral care, even during this pandemic. Dental care is essential care. We must make sure patients retain the option to get the oral care they want and need.”

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