3 Good Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Put Off Dental Care Now That Dental Offices Are Open Again
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, dental offices across the nation were ordered to close, except for the treatment of emergency situations. This was done to reduce exposure and to funnel critically needed supplies that are routinely used in dental practices, such as medical grade masks, face shields and gloves, to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. Now that the restrictions have eased, patients might be concerned about their risks of catching the virus if they go to the dentist.
There are a number of good reasons why patients shouldn’t put off dental care.
Dental practices have a long history and a lot of experience in ensuring safe and sanitary patient care. Dental offices have used personal protective equipment (PPE) for years, including masks, shields, and gloves. Dental instruments are put in a sterilizer or an autoclave after use. An autoclave machine takes all the air and liquid out of the instruments and then sterilizes them with high heat and pressure before drying them completely to minimize the risk of recontamination.1
Because of the increased threat of COVID-19, dental offices are being even more diligent in protecting patient and staff safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association have collaborated on re-opening guidelines for dental offices. These guidelines include social distancing, increased sanitation of shared surfaces, and monitoring of staff and patients for COVID-19 symptoms before and after appointments.2
Dental health is important to your overall health. Keeping your teeth in good shape by practicing good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, and by visiting your dentist for regular check-ups, is a good way to reduce your risk for a number of serious health conditions including cardiovascular (heart) disease, respiratory infections, diabetic complications and even dementia.3
The bacteria from inflammation in the gums and periodontal disease can cause hardening of the arteries, which increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. The bacteria from gingivitis is also thought to be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease and can cause respiratory infections, including pneumonia, as you breath bacteria from infected gums.
Finally, diabetics, who are more susceptible to periodontal disease can see symptoms worsen as inflammation makes it harder to control blood sugar. Since your dental health and overall health are linked, routine dental care helps you safeguard both your oral health and your overall health.4 Patients that are considered “high risk” because of age and pre-existing conditions should also seek routine dental care, in consultation with their dentist, as chronic illnesses often negatively impact dental health.
Small dental issues today can turn into bigger and more costly problems tomorrow. A conversation with your dentist is the best way to determine if you can delay treatment for weeks or months. If you are experiencing bleeding, swelling or trauma to your teeth you should seek immediate dental care.5 If you were diagnosed with a cavity that needed filling prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, that cavity, while generally slow-growing, will most likely get larger and if it becomes too large may require a dental crown to cover and protect the tooth.
Deep decay in a tooth can also result in having to have a root canal performed on the tooth. Not only are crowns and root canals more extensive dental procedures than a simple dental filling, but they also increase the cost of treatment. Patients with other dental conditions, such as gum disease, and those with orthodontics, need to return to their regular appointment schedule to prevent future complications.6
The bottom line is that if you are concerned about your risk of COVID-19 exposure, talk with your dentist or dental office staff. They can provide information on the many steps they are taking to ensure your health and safety. Your dentist can provide the best professional advice on your individual situation and the consequences of delaying treatment.
You are in good hands at our Walled Lake Dental Office. Over 40 years’ experience ensures we have successfully practiced safe and sanitary patient care and continue to do so. We pride ourselves in offering a personalized experience which includes a full range of dental services with the latest technology in modern dentistry.
Our dental services include general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry such as dental veneers, teeth whitening and invisible braces as well as restorative treatments such as dental implants, dental bridges and dentures.
Call our Walled Lake Dental Clinic for a Free Consultation today!
1 The Challenges of Pandemic Dental Care, The New York Times by Jane E. Brody, 6/8/2020
2, 5 Is It Safe to Visit the Dentist? How Dentist Offices are Reducing COVID-19 Risks by Zee Krstic, 6/8/2020
3 How Poor Dental Care Can Affect Your Overall Health, www.colgate.com, by Willie Pena
4, 6 Your Health First – MDA Dentists Always Practice Infection Control