A call has been made to suspend all non-essential dental services in a bid to help combat the spread of coronavirus in New Zealand.
Advice issued to Oral Health Practitioners by the Dental Council New Zealand and the Ministry of Health recommends stopping non-essential and elective dental services to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the community.
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"As you will be aware, the Prime Minister has announced New Zealand Covid-19 alert levels," a shared statement reads.
"These new alert levels specify the public health and social measures to be taken. Nationwide, New Zealand is currently at Level 2 – Reduce."
This means the virus is contained but the risk of community transmission is growing because there are more cases.
"We recognise this is a difficult time for all practitioners and at this time it remains the decision of individual practitioners, whilst abiding to mandatory practice standards, to decide what services they continue to provide within their respective scopes of practice.
"However, in the national interest the Dental Council New Zealand and the Ministry of Health together strongly recommend that all non-essential and elective dental services, particularly those generating aerosol, should be suspended immediately to reduce the risk of community spread, including to yourself, your staff and your patients."
It is advised that all emergency treatment - including oral-facial trauma, significant infection and prolonged bleeding - as well as relief of pain should continue with appropriate precautions taken.
"Together as an oral health community we can all play our part, by working through these challenges and uniting against Covid-19."