The Irish Dental Association (IDA) notes the World Health Organisation (WHO) report released yesterday (Tuesday) which advises on dental care in the context of Covid-19.
The safety of patients, dental staff and dentists themselves is the highest priority for dentists across the country. The IDA is paying close attention to all guidance being issued in relation to Covid-19, including from the HSE, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and WHO.
The WHO report makes clear that the suspension of routine treatments would only arise in the context of community transmission (which is very low here now) or where official recommendations at national or regional level suggest this.
The report makes no mention of Ireland and recognises that national authorities, to whom this report is aimed, are best placed to provide guidance reflecting the circumstances and data in each country.
Bearing in mind that on May 18th, 2020, the HPSC advised that routine dental care could recommence in Ireland, a view which was endorsed by the Dental Council, the Association has concluded there is nothing in this WHO report to suggest that revised guidance is necessary in Ireland and therefore no change is required as regards guidance to Irish dentists.
Dental practices remain open for business, and they are adhering to all the necessary guidelines and infection control measures in order to maximise the safety of patients, their staff and themselves.
Dental Council statement
The Dental Council announced on May 16th that dentists can now resume provision of treatments other than emergency treatments subject to compliance with new safeguards.
The Dental Council's statement reads as follows:
"The Minister for Health has announced that dental practices can open from 18 May subject to adherence to the HPSC guidelines on Managing Infection Related Risks in Dental Services.
"The Dental Council welcomes the easing of the restrictions and it commends the HPSC guide to the profession as the authoritative national advice on managing a return to a more routine form of dentistry. The measures are important to ensure safety in the dental surgery and to provide an assurance to patients that it is safe for them to attend their dentist.
"The Dental Council would like to thank all dental health care professionals for their commitment to providing safe clinical care in what is an unprecedented situation. The Council recognises this continues to be worrying and stressful time for all members of the dental team."