Did you have to put off a dental appointment while under lockdown for the coronavirus?
You’re not alone. There are a lot of people tolerating from that unshakeable feeling of “fuzzy” teeth after dental offices were restricted to emergency treatment only.
While your teeth probably aren’t actually fuzzy, as restrictions are lifted, you should prioritize any routine dental care that was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our mouths are a complex gateway to our overall health,” says Austin Dentist Samantha Hollinger, DMD. “An excess of bacteria in your mouth can cause problems in other parts of your body, like a heart infection, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, and pneumonia.”
The stress of living through this unprecedented shutdown and natural worries about a new and deadly virus can actually have a negative impact on your oral health. Paired with the fact that the natural bacteria in our mouths doubles every eight to 12 hours, we all have good reason to maintain good oral hygiene and resume regular visits to the dentist.
Regular dental checkups are important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy, which helps *you* stay healthy.
“For example, when you think about gum disease, you might only think about inflamed gums or a little bleeding and dismiss it as a serious issue,” says Dr. Hollinger. “But infections in your gums can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body.”
Dr. Hollinger also notes that a small cavity can become a problem requiring a root canal in as little as six months.
More than Just Cleaning
We all love how smooth our teeth feel after a checkup and cleaning, but what happens during that visit goes a lot deeper than squeaky clean teeth.
The checkup—This exam allows your dentist to check for cavities, plaque, and gum issues, as well as possible signs of cancer. Your teeth will be photographed with a special pen-style camera to document their condition, and x-rays are taken to look for cavities and cracks.
Your gums are also checked with a special tool to measure the spaces between teeth and gums (healthy gums have shallow spaces; deeper spaces may indicate gum disease).
And the dentist will check your tongue and throat for any signs of swelling, redness, or other issues.
The cleaning—No matter how thorough your daily oral care routine is, tartar happens—and you can’t remove it yourself. Your dentist uses special “scaling” tools to remove the tartar, which, if left unchecked, can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other health issues.
After removing tartar, your teeth will be polished to help remove surface stains, and then flossed. A fluoride solution may be applied to help strengthen enamel and further protect your teeth.
But Is It Safe?
The short answer is: yes.
That’s because along with our usual strict standards of cleaning and sanitizing, TRU Dentistry Austin will be maintaining additional practices adopted to protect patients and staff during the pandemic.
“We’re practicing social distancing between all patients and staff when not being worked on,” says Dr. Hollinger. “In addition, we frequently disinfect common surfaces in the lobby, including doorknobs, countertops, and pens.”
In addition, all staff is screened for symptoms and their temperature checked daily to confirm that they are healthy to work.
At all times, not just during a global pandemic, we use medical-grade cleaners between each patient. Following the CDC’s Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings, we sanitize everything using EPA-approved disinfectants specially designed for healthcare settings to kill viruses, bacteria, and other blood-borne pathogens.
You’re Part of the Solution
While all TRU Dentistry staff is working hard to protect you, we ask that patients give us and other patients the same respect. Patients will be pre-screened with questions about possible symptoms, and screened again upon arrival to the office.
Depending on the number of appointments at a given time, we may ask patients to wait in their cars until we call them in, to help maintain social distancing. The lobby has been reorganized to create six feet of space between chairs. Magazines, children’s toys, and other items have been removed to aid in frequent disinfecting of all high touch surfaces. We have stationed hand sanitizer in the reception area and throughout our treatment rooms and offices, and will ask that patients use it upon arrival.
After your appointment, please let us know if you develop a fever or other symptoms within 14 days.
We continue to monitor this evolving situation very closely and are following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and the American Dental Association to ensure we continue to do all we can to keep our patients, employees, and office safe.
Contact TRU Dentistry Austin or call 737-203-8538 any time of day to schedule a consultation. Our offices are open for all dental care services and we’re taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of our patients, staff, and community.