GOING TO THE DENTIST DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Coronavirus Safety Recommendations from a Dentist

Photo of abcess above an upper tooth

An abscess such as this could require this patient to have an infection that could be a problem during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

As dental healthcare providers we’ve been hearing from our patients about what to do during the Coronavirus pandemic if they have a dental emergency. As health care providers during a pandemic, Sedona Dentist Roy Daniels will continue with the relief of pain and management of infection with our patients in order to keep them out of the emergency rooms and out of the hospital. Some of the questions that dental patients have asked:

Should I go to a dental office if I’m having Pain?

The recommendation has been that social distancing is a key to controlling the spread of the Coronavirus. If you have a dental infection, the key to your optimal health is to keep you out of an emergency room or a hospital. Sedona Dentist Roy Daniels is recommending that if you experience pain, swelling or suspect that you have a dental infection that you contact your dentist. Presently, all dentists across the United States have been recommended to only see those patients with dental emergencies only.

Our Sedona dental practice has suspended all non-essential or elective dental procedures (routine dental care) that utilizes personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.

WE ARE SEEING PATIENTS WITH DENTAL EMERGENCIES ONLY.

 

Dental Emergencies may include:

  • An infection in your wisdom tooth (you may have problems opening your mouth and have a nasty taste)
  • Severe or Dull throbbing in your jaw that won’t go away
  • Infection of with swelling
  • Trauma such as a fall injury with broken teeth
  • A fractured tooth that is resulting in pain or is causing the side of your tongue to be sore.
  • A denture that is causing pain and needs to be adjusted
  • Denture adjustments or repairs to dentures or partials because you cannot chew
  • An orthodontic wire cutting into your mouth
  • Download the American Dental Association’s Patient Guide to dental Emergencies during the Coronavirus outbreak here

How Necessary is Good Oral Hygiene during the Coronavirus fight?

This virus infects cells below the voice box, into your throat and upper airways and deep down into your lungs. Besides the air that we breathe, the Coronavirus reaches the cells of the lungs by the fluid in your nose and throat. Through a process called aspiration, some of the viruses and bacteria that live in our mouth sneak past our voice box and slide down into your windpipe (trachea) and can infect your lungs. Keeping up good home oral hygiene is very important though out the day! And especially before you go to bed at night, thoroughly clean your teeth and mouth. Especially in between the teeth using interproximal brushes or floss. When you sleep at night is when most aspiration occurs.

What oral hygiene measures can I do at home to decrease my personal exposure to Coronavirus?

We’ve been hearing a lot about the “Coronavirus” in the news recently.  We’ve also been hearing a lot of misinformation.  Consequently, we are experiencing a pandemic of panic.  Unnecessary panic. There’s a run on toilet paper, for gosh sakes!  Fortunately, no one has made a run on oral hygiene products! There’s plenty of toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss in the stores!

Oral Hygiene:

Brush your teeth after EVERY meal! Because Chinese COVID is vulnerable to oxidation, you can use mouth rinses that contain hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse. A lot of the alcohol-based mouthwashes such a Listerine ™ contain alcohol. Original formula Listerine is about 54 proof with 26.9% alcohol which is much higher than beer or wine and even some liquors.  The alcohol is very drying to your mouth and is not recommended by Sedona Dentist Roy Daniels if you already have a dry mouth. The alcohol containing mouthwashes are probably better used as a hand disinfectant because of their ethyl alcohol content!

General Hygiene:

You already know this! Stop touching your face! Stop biting your fingernails (I had to point this out to my mother recently).  Use soap and water to wash your hands frequently. According to the CDC hand sanitizer should contain 60 percent of alcohol to be effective.

Keep your distance! You know the new term “social distancing”. You know not to allow someone to breathe in your face.

What precautions is our Sedona dental office to prevent the spread of infection?

Our Sedona dental office is probably the cleanest, safest place you can be.  Plus, we don’t have a waiting room full of sick people.  No crowds here! In fact a dental office is probably the safest place I can think of!  If you’ve been here, you’ve probably never seen my reception area full of waiting patients.  That’s been by design since I started my practice.  We run our schedule accordingly.  My reception room is usually empty, because the scheduled patients are in the chair.

We care about our dental patient’s safety and we are committed to preventing the spread of disease. Before you enter the treatment room, we wipe down surfaces such as the dental chair, counter tops and we cover surfaces with protective covers which are replaced after each patient. So know you know why there is foil on the light handles! Each patient gets new foil so that there is no saliva from previous patients on the light handle when we reach up and adjust the dental examination light.

Besides sterilizing everything that isn’t disposable, we pretty much “hose down” all other contact surfaces (even the front desk and counter) with a hospital-grade disinfectant that effectively kills Coronavirus.  It also kills MRSA (“mersa”), HIV, and even Hepatitis C, which is considered one of the most difficult pathogens.  It’s good stuff!  It works, even for things far worse than Corona.  We do this every day.  This is known as “universal precautions.”

We regularly use dental dam isolation when we use handpieces that create aerosols and to minimize the cross-infection as well as protect our patient’s airway. We use high speed dental suction hoses to get the contaminants away from your mouth.

What extra precautions is our dental office using during this COVID-19 disease outbreak?

We are asking that if you are sick or have any cold and flu-like symptoms that you stay at home. Call us and reschedule to 14 days after your symptoms have disappeared.

If you have traveled out of the country in the last 14 days, or if you notice flu-like symptoms, please call our office in advance to let us know.

You may notice that when you walk into our office, we ask more questions about your health and travel history.

You may notice the books and magazines are missing, so bring your cell phone to our dental office to keep yourself entertained.

Our janitor has been told that even though we are not scheduling non-emergency dental procedures (routing dentistry such as periodontal maintenance), the janitor is still on the payroll to do increased cleaning and disinfection of surfaces that patients may touch, like chair railings, door handles and toilets.

Our team has a “checklist” , much like you’d see in an airport or other public restroom with specific surfaces that we need to wipe and disinfect minimally every two hours while we are at the office.

We are asking that you avoid bringing people who do not need dental treatment with you into the office and consider waiting in your car before the appointment rather than our office’s lobby. If we see you in the parking lot, and you don’t come in immediately, we may walk out to greet you at your car.

Our team members will be asked to stay at home if they or other family members are ill.

Visit the CDC’s website for the latest information on COVID-19

If you have any questions or would like to personally speak with Sedona Dentist Roy Daniels about your dental emergency needs during the Coronavirus outbreak, please call 928-282-3246.