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Oral Health’s Top 10 News Stories of 2020

December 21, 2020
by Oral Health


The year of 2020 took an unexpected turn in March when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and impacted our lives in so many ways. Among other businesses, dental practices were forced to shut down and dentists could only treat emergency cases. New procedures had to be implemented in order to reopen, including enhanced PPE and sterilization. The Oral Health Group met our own set of challenges including the need to adapt to working from home. We are lucky that we have been able to continue to produce high quality, educational content during this unprecedented time with the help of our hard-working team and all of our dedicated contributors. Part three of our Data Driven Dentistry series took place, and our second annual Special Student Issue was published in October. A COVID-19 Hub was created for all COVID content relating to dentistry, such as news or educational articles.

As always, we have compiled the top 10 news items that you have clicked on throughout the year. Let’s reflect on what a wild year it has been and hope for a better year in 2021 (with fewer COVID-19 headlines!).

10. Understanding Personal Protective Equipment

With such an emphasis on PPE due to COVID-19, DIAC provided a breakdown of the different types of PPE to use and their recommendations, along with relevant links. This has been a great source to refer to throughout the year.

9. The Rift Over COVID-19 Safety Guidelines

When practices reopened, there was some confusion within the industry when it came to what new guidelines to follow  – RCDSO for dentists and the CDHO for hygienists differed in their instructions for practicing during the pandemic.

8. Trump Signs Bill to Expand VA Dental Care Coverage for Veterans in US

Exciting news for veterans in the US as a bill was signed to expand dental care coverage for them. This marks the only news item on this list that is unrelated to COVID!

7. Insurer Says It Will Pay Dentists’ Claims for Pandemic Coverage

The insurance company, Aviva Canada, announced they would be providing pandemic coverage for dentists who had their practices shut down in March. They felt the need to make a statement that they would be staying true to that promise since there was such a delay due to the complexities involved.

6. Some Alberta Dentists Offering Non-Emergency Care Despite COVID-19 Public Health Orders

Despite the shut down of all dental practices earlier in the year, a number of dentists in Alberta continued to perform non-emergency treatments. The Alberta Dental Association and College asked dentists, insurance companies and dental labs to report any cases of practices treating non-emergency cases so they could investigate.

5. Dentists Say PPE Shortage, ‘Aerosol’ Concerns Could Delay Reopening of Services

A major topic this year was the possibility of a PPE shortage as many dentists struggled to find enough equipment to practice in order to follow the new protocols. This has arguably been the largest impact to the dental industry this year.

4. ‘Vague, Disappointing, Not Good Enough’: BC Dental Hygienists React to Reopening Guidelines

Another headline regarding the dispute between the reopening guidelines for dentists versus hygienists. In particular, hygienists from BC felt that the guidelines for dentists were not strict enough and many did not feel safe returning to the office without stricter guidelines.

3. Dental Cancellations, Layoffs Possible Due to Mask Shortage From COVID-19 Hoarding

This article was published just before WHO announced COVID-19 was a pandemic. At this time, the main worries for dentists were lack of masks and appointment cancellations due to patient fear. Little did we all know, there would be much more to worry about soon.

2. Coronavirus: Dental Hygienists Concerned Dentists are Still Providing Non-Essential Service

During the shutdown in March, some BC hygienists voiced their concern over dentists ignoring the recommendation to close their offices. Since it was only a suggestion and not mandatory in the province, some dentists chose to stay open for all procedures.

1. ‘Mask Mouth’ is a Seriously Stinky Side Effect of Wearing Masks

It is no surprise that the most click-worthy article this year is surrounding the very popular topic of “mask mouth”. While there is much debate over whether this is real or not, it is generally agreed upon that wearing a mask can cause dryness in the mouth, which can lead to more bacteria. Dental professionals should make sure they are reminding patients to keep up their oral hygiene in order to combat any excessive bacterial build-up that could be caused by the lack of saliva.

What a year this has been! We would like to thank all of our readers who continue to read Oral Health year after year. We hope you all have a happy holiday season and that next year will bring more positivity and stability to the world.