Going Forward: Opportunities
Focus on Prevention and Promote Nonaerosol-generating Dental Procedures
Prevention is a cornerstone of public health. The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for the dental profession to shift from an approach focused on surgical intervention to one emphasizing prevention. Embracing nonsurgical, nonaerosolizing caries prevention and management will be critical in this endeavor. The profession has always supported community water fluoridation, and dental hygienists are considered prevention experts.[34,35] However, the dental compensation model is based on providing expensive, restorative procedures that are financially out of reach for many people.
Guidelines have been developed to shift the dental care paradigm to a more preventive focus.[36–40] Strategies include reduction in common risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, promotion of a healthy diet low in sugars, community water fluoridation, topical fluorides, and promotion of oral health in community settings. These oral health messages and interventions should be integrated