Essential oral healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the need for consensus on the definition of essential oral healthcare. The article "Pandemic considerations on essential oral healthcare" provides a layered model of essential oral healthcare, integrating urgent and basic oral healthcare, as well as advanced and specialist oral healthcare.
Essential oral healthcare covers the most prevalent oral health problems but, by default, does not include the full spectrum of possible interventions that contemporary dentistry can provide. A layered approach to the definition of essential oral healthcare allows for categorization and prioritization with available resources and needs in mind. This model also includes a definition of basic oral healthcare and calls for oral healthcare to be recognized as an integral component of a healthcare system's essential services.
"There is a significant need for evidence-based criteria to define which dental interventions are to be included in each category of essential oral healthcare. A lack of clearly defined essential oral healthcare services leaves people at risk for physical, mental and social harm," said JDR Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Jakubovics. "All stakeholders, including the research, academic and clinical communities, need to work together to respond to this call for a consensus."