Currently, our world and society are in a pandemic of epic proportion. This global pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and staying home has been the primary message to help minimize the spread of disease. Many people are concerned about their overall health and the strong correlation between systemic and dental health can’t be ignored. So the question becomes, how do we maintain our dental health and can we see our dental healthcare provider? The American Dental Association (ADA) has recognized its members and patients who have questions about whether dentists should continue to provide care during the COVID19 pandemic. Our Midtown team at New York General Dentistry is working hard to provide care to our patients while complying with the guidelines set by the CDC and the state of New York.
How to Prevent Transmission of COVID19?
The primary steps to follow in any pandemic is prevention. What steps can you take to protect yourself and those around you from contracting this novel virus? It is important to follow the 5 steps set by the World Health Organization to prevent contracting coronavirus.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
- Don’t touch your face with dirty hands.
- Keep a safe distance from others (6 feet) and avoid group gatherings.
- Stay home at all costs unless unavoidable.
COVID19 and Receiving Dental Care
One of the main questions that we have been receiving during this time is: can patients still receive proper dental care during this pandemic. It is important during this time to adhere to the ADA policy of emergency treatment only. Any elective care can be postponed till the pandemic lessens in magnitude. This restriction protects the patients, staff and doctor. The ADA has listed different dental procedures that can be rescheduled or need to be taken care of right away:
Non-essential Dental Care
- Regular visits for exams, cleanings, and x-rays
- Regular visits for braces
- Removal of teeth that aren’t painful
- TMJ treatments
- Treatment of cavities that aren’t painful
- Elective cosmetic procedures such as veneers, botox, bonding and tooth whitening
Essential Dental Care
- Bleeding that doesn’t stop
- Pain in a tooth, teeth, or jawbone
- Gum infection with pain or swelling
- After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
- Broken or knocked-out tooth
- Biopsy of abnormal tissue
- Snipping or adjusting orthodontics that are causing pain
- Denture adjustment for people receiving radiation or other treatment for cancer
This pandemic has led to major disruptions in everyday life and medical treatments. We are implementing these measures to ensure that we keep our staff, patients, and our society safe and healthy. If you need emergency dental care, feel free to contact us for the next steps.
How to Maintain Your Oral and General Health While Quarantined?
When quarantined at home, make sure to follow your regular routine of hygiene. If you have extra time, try to set the goal of improving your oral hygiene so when you do see your dentist, there is less of a chance of issues (cavities or gum disease). Some tips to maintain oral health are:
- Eat healthy and nutritious foods. Think of vegetables and fruit.
- Floss or use a water flosser at least once a day
- Brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes
- Have vitamin-c on hand to increase general health.
- Rinse with mouthwash to reduce gingivitis.
- Try to stay active.
- Meditate to keep calm, stress can lower your immune system and increase inflammation.
What to Do in Case of a Medical or Dental Issue?
If you have a medical or dental issue during this stressful time, reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible to be screened for the level of emergency and proper next steps. It is crucial to avoid the emergency room in every way. Our office has implemented Teledentistry and FaceTime consults to aid in diagnosis and treatment. If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact our Manhattan team. We are working together to help stop the spread of this novel virus to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Final Note From Dr. Chern:
I have been involved in dentistry for almost 30 years from roles as a dental assistant to dentist. There was never a time in my life where I could not practice the profession that I love, so this has been a very humbling experience for me. Everyday that goes by, I miss my staff and patients, who have become my family over the years. Helping people with their oral health was my purpose for so long! I am hopeful this will all resolve soon and meditate every day on what the lesson for all of us as a society is? I truly believe that only after a disaster, can we be resurrected. I am hoping that as a whole our society is resurrected for the better!!!