Dental Appointments Amid COVID-19: Is It Worth The Risk?
Going to the dentist during a pandemic is one of the hardest decisions to make. It’s a battle between knowing the need for dental appointments versus the fear of contracting the virus. Sadly, the fear of the coronavirus prevails, but health professionals encourage the public that this should not be the case.
CDC released a statement that there are still no clusters of contamination reported in the dental setting. Dental practices are taking extra measures by adhering to CDC guidelines and finding ways to minimize contact with their patients.
According to ADA, about 97% of dental practices in the US reopened one 15. But even if some patients are hesitant, in certain cases, the patient volume has increased from 35% in May to 65% in June.
Certain factors play significant roles in a patient’s decision to be brave during uncertain times. Today presents the opportunity to be brave and start going to the dentist again. Your oral health deserves it.
The Impact of COVID-19 in Maintaining Your Oral Health
Not all teeth are created equal. With the global crisis at hand, this is significantly highlighted due to the distinct needs of patients with dental conditions. If patients keep clinging to the fear of contracting the virus, the following implications will take place:
1. Some dental problems remain undetected
Due to the restrictions implemented for dental practices, only dental emergency cases received dental treatment from March to May. As a result, there’s a higher risk of an increase in undetected dental problems due to the postponement of routine checkups and limited dental services during the lockdown.
According to this study, researchers consider that the demand for dental services will grow explosively post-COVID19. To mitigate this risk, the CDC has allowed the re-opening of the dental industry with rigid protocols in hand.
2. Increased attempt to self medicate
An outside world full of an unseen virus and a dental concern at hand can only lead to the most viable solution – self-medication. While pain relievers work wonders for toothaches, it can only solve the symptoms of an underlying dental condition.
Undetected tooth infection triples our risk of heart disease, according to Dr. Nigel Carter of Oral Health Foundation. Symptoms include pain and swelling, but sometimes the tooth or gum infection doesn’t show these signs early on.
If you self-medicate for the symptoms alone, Dr. Carter added that the infection-causing bacteria could continue to spread beyond the end of the root of your teeth into your bloodstream. Thus, leading to risks for heart disease.
3. Delayed adjustments for patients under an orthodontic program
If you’re in braces or under other removable appliance treatment, the postponement of your braces adjustment can become one of your major concerns. Here’s what will happen to your teeth if you miss your scheduled dental appointments:
- There will be no progress in the alignment of your teeth when they are not tightened or adjusted by your dentist on-schedule.
- The postponement of braces adjustments may lead to the extension of your orthodontic treatment.
- Some dental problems may not be checked and can cause further complications.
4. Losing the chance to save a tooth
Our teeth can die in a given matter of time if they are damaged. Knocked-out or cracked teeth and caries can kill the nerve of the tooth if left untreated. If a patient hesitates to have them checked immediately, he may end up with a tooth extraction rather than a simple tooth filling.
5. Worsen the existing dental problems
High-risk dental patients are the ones who already have dental problems pre-COVID19. Regular checkups are vital for these cases and must be monitored to prevent the condition from progressing. High-risk conditions include:
- Periodontal disease
- Endodontic infections
- Cysts and tumors
- Gum disease on diabetic patients
- Tartar buildup in disabled patients
Safety Precautions and Infection Control of Dental Practices
Fine Arts Dentistry follows the guidelines set by the CDC for re-opening the dental practice. These new protocols change your usual dental appointments by:
- Online screening and paperwork processing
- Wearing protective equipment like face masks
- Social distancing
- Limiting the volume of patients within the practice
- Communicating your condition before your appointment or sending “tooth selfies” to limit contact
- Discouraging walk-ins and only allowing scheduled dental appointments for necessary preparations like proper screening.
- Acquiring the ‘act-like-I’m-infected’ mindset to maintain extra caution
What You Can Do
Guidelines and protocols are in place to keep you safe on your dental appointment. Here’s how you can prepare for it:
- Communicate your dental concerns to your dentist before your appointment.
- Be honest with your dental condition.
- Prepare the necessary paperwork online.
- Keep yourself protected by wearing a face mask and keeping your hand sanitizer handy.
- Follow the instructions of your dentist.
Your dental appointments will be safe, as long as you follow the protocols. Obedience to the rules and integrity is paramount in this difficult time, make sure you do your part to keep everyone safe.
Fine Arts Dentistry Won’t Let You Lose your Teeth Even During A Pandemic
Dr. Alston and Dr. Patel stay true to their duty as family dentists to their patients in Matthews, even during a pandemic.
While the risks are high, our protocols are tighter, and we are keeping the “Im-infected” mindset to implement stricter compliance and added caution.
Don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment with us and be more concerned about the possible complications you may develop if you remain untreated.
Here’s what you can expect in your dental appointment with us. For more information, you may contact us or book an appointment here.