With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and how long citizens can expect social distancing to continue, you may be wondering what you should do if faced with a dental crisis during this time. While some dentist’s offices throughout the country may be limiting their services to seeing only patients with urgent issues, the bigger question of “what constitutes a dental emergency” remains. To provide clarity and reassurance during this time, let your local dental professional shed some light on what the ADA recommends you do in order to save your smile while protecting your wellbeing.
Within the past few weeks, you have likely heard media outlets, government officials, friends, and family talking about COVID-19. Otherwise known as coronavirus, this infectious respiratory disease has rapidly spread throughout the world. Causing fever, cough, and shortness of breath, patients who have contracted COVID-19 are either being told to self-isolate for 14 days or receiving treatment in a local hospital.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid catching COVID-19. By practicing the following tips, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
Although the American Dental Association (ADA), dental associations, and state government officials may be recommending dentists in their particular region to limit resources or use their best judgment when it comes to operating hours and patient care, accidents can still happen. Even during this inconvenient time, should you face a dental emergency, you will need treatment sooner rather than later. But what types of injuries should be treated at home versus by a dental professional? Let us find out:
Life-Threatening Injuries: If you are experiencing a dental emergency that involves continuous bleeding, increased swelling or a serious facial injury that can potentially block your airway, seek immediate medical assistance.
Urgent Dental Injuries: Whether faced with a fractured tooth, severe tooth pain, dry sockets, suture removal, or even a lost crown or filling, you will need to contact your local dentist for guidance on when you can expect to receive emergency care. These are all situations that can be dealt with in your local dentist’s office, effectively alleviating the need to visit your nearby emergency room.
Apart from the examples listed above, if you need a regular checkup or cleaning, tooth extraction, restorative or cosmetic dentistry, these qualify as non-emergency dental procedures and will most likely be postponed until a later date. However, if your dentist’s office is continued to see patients on a normal basis, you can trust that proper measures are being taken to ensure the sterilization of all tools and equipment as well as the safety of all individuals.
Although these times are uncertain, your dental team is keeping your oral health in mind, so no matter what type of dental situation you may be experiencing, do not be afraid to call.
Dr. Michael Giovine is an emergency dentist in Marysville, WA, who attended Western Washington University in Bellingham before later going on to the Oregon Health and Science University where he earned his doctorate. As one of three dentists at Allen Creek Family Dentistry, he and his colleagues are devoted to helping patients improve their oral and overall health. Even if you are experiencing a dental emergency during this difficult time, Dr. Giovine and the team at Allen Creek Family Dentistry will make sure you are taken care of while ensuring your safety. Contact us via our website or by calling (360) 651-2900 to find out how we can help you.