‘Don’t skip the trip’: You should still go to the dentist during the pandemic, experts say

Coronavirus

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – If you’re due for a trip to the dentist, but wonder whether or not you should go during the COVID-19 crisis, one Tampa Bay area dentist says don’t skip the trip.

Dr. Roberto Macedo is speaking out, and he’s not alone.

The longtime St. Petersburg dentist and prosthodontist is part of a growing number of health officials who strongly disagree with the recent recommendation from the World Health Organization to delay dental work right now.

Dr. Macedo says your oral health is directly related to your overall health.

For more than two decades, Dr. Macedo says he’s always considered ‘safety first’ as the motto for his practice. Now more than ever with the COVID-19 crisis, he tells 8 On Your Side, he’s even more conscious of patient protection during this pandemic.

“I mean, safety first always, right? That’s what we’re all about. We’re here to take care of people, take care of their health,” Dr. Macedo said.

Dr. Macedo says he closed his St. Petersburg office for two months at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. He has since reopened, taking numerous safety steps including full Personal Protective Equipment for all staff, temperature checks, shoe coverings, and treating one patient at a time.

“We overdo it actually,” said Dr. Macedo with a smile. “Our patients say they feel safer here than a grocery store.” Macedo says he wants to “overdo” it. “Sometimes I think people underestimate the mouth issues that can affect your overall health,” Dr. Macedo.

He says he understands that the World Health Organization is looking out for folks globally when making the recommendation to delay dental work. But, Dr. Macedo also points out that here in the Tampa Bay area, dentists like himself are taking the steps necessary to keep patients healthy.

“We just see one patient at a time. Not three or four patients at a time, but that’s our philosophy,” said Dr. Macedo. “It’s safe to go see your dentist.”

The American Dental Association ‘respectfully, yet strongly’ disagrees with the World Health Organization on delaying dental work.

In fact, Dr. Macedo says he’s seen a steady increase in patients.

“Whatever happens here,” he said, pointing to his mouth, “will eventually affect your body.”

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