The COVID-19 pandemic has limited many dentists to providing emergency dentistry only. It has also led to dentists taking additional steps to reduce the risk of them and their patients getting infected with the coronavirus.
How emergency dentistry clinics are reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection
Here are some of the steps dentists are taking to keep everyone safe during this pandemic:
- Making sure all staff members at the clinic have had their seasonal flu injections
- Asking employees with flu-like symptoms to stay at home
- Regularly checking for symptoms of COVID-19
- Using protective gear like face masks, face shields, surgical gloves and surgical gowns
- Removing items in the waiting rooms that are not easily disinfected, like toys and magazines
- Scheduling appointments further apart to minimize the contact patients make with one another
- Advising patients not to bring companions unless necessary
- Screening patients for COVID-19 when they are checking in
- Postponing elective dental treatments, like teeth whitening
- Using phone calls and video conferencing to minimize contact with patients
COVID-19 has also lead to changes in the way patients interact with the dentist. Some of the new guidelines include:
- Patients can wait in their vehicles after checking in if they prefer. They get a text or phone call when the dentist is ready to see them
- Patients with flu-like symptoms should wait for their symptoms to clear before seeing the dentist
- Patients should wash their hands before and after their trip to the dentist
Figuring out if you need emergency dentistry
Any oral problem that requires immediate dental treatment counts as an emergency. Such issues are often accompanied by intense pain and discomfort. Treatment is typically needed to make these go away. Common dental problems that require emergency care include:
A knocked-out tooth
A tooth falling out due to trauma requires immediate dental care. The dentist might be able to reattach the tooth if the person makes it to the dentist within a few hours. The knocked-out tooth can be stored in warm milk or saliva while the person heads to the dentist's office.
An infected tooth
A tooth infection is caused by bacteria getting into the pulp chamber. It leads to throbbing toothaches that linger on. An infection in the mouth can spread to other areas of the body like the jaw and brain where it becomes a significantly more serious issue. Root canal therapy is the standard treatment for an infected tooth, but an extraction might be performed if the infection is severe.
A severely broken tooth
A severely broken tooth often leaves the pulp chamber compromised. As a result, saliva, bacteria and acids get into the pulp chamber, leading to toothaches when eating or drinking. If a severely broken tooth is infected, it with need a root canal or an extraction.
Get emergency dental treatment
Call or visit our Playa Vista clinic if you need emergency dental care. Our clinic is open to anyone who finds themselves dealing with a dental emergency.
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