As we’re beginning to enter our second week of the COVID-19 Quarantine and practicing our social distancing, we wanted to send out a quick reminder that this quarantine is no excuse to skip on oral hygiene. There are links between our oral health, heart health, and systemic health which have been proven to affect our overall general well-being. While we do our best to stay home and “bend the curve” of this virus, we need to control the things we can control, oral health being one of them.
Below are a few items that you can do from home to maintain good oral health:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Use a mouth rinse after brushing twice a day
- Floss your teeth once a day
Another way to promote good oral health, as well as good diet habits, is to monitor sugar intake, especially sugary drinks. We know it can be hard to keep our kids and family from loading up on sugar and snacks when we’re all home for extended periods of time, but reducing your intake of sodas, fruit juices, and other sugary drinks and snacks can not only have a positive impact on your oral health but is also a healthy choice overall.
You can also put together an emergency kit to limit exposure of going out before calling the dentist. This emergency dental kit should include:
- Temp dental cement from any pharmacy
- Mouth rinse
- ortho wax to place on a tooth that lost a filling or fractured to reduce air exposure or rough edges
There are some dental issues that may be uncomfortable but aren’t considered a dental emergency. Procedures that are considered Non-Emergency include:
- Initial or periodic oral examinations and recall visits, including routine radiographs
- Routine dental cleaning and preventive therapies
- Orthodontic procedures other than those to address acute issues (e.g. pain, infection, trauma)
- Extraction of asymptomatic teeth
- Restorative dentistry including treatment of asymptomatic carious lesions
- Aesthetic dental procedures
If you have temporary crowns:
Temporary crowns coming off, while worrisome, pose no harm if there is no pain. The tooth is strong, and if there is no pain it is ok to wait until the office can see you. Or you could try to recement with the temp cement. If permanent crowns coming off, you can do the same thing.
As long as there is no pain, there is no immediate worry. But also could try to recement with temp cement as well.
Chipped or broken teeth:
Chipped teeth are a worry as well, but the emergency aspect is dictated by pain. A fractured tooth needs to be addressed but if no pain we could wait to have the doctor see it when the office is open, not an after-hours emergency.
Dental Problems and Procedures that are considered True Dental Emergencies
A true dental emergency is one that is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, or to alleviate severe pain or infections including:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Cellulitis or a diffuse soft-tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromises the patient’s airway
- Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway
Urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible.
- Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
- Pericoronitis or third-molar pain
- Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes
- Abscess, or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling.
- Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
- Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation
- Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures
- Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation
Other urgent dental care:
- Extensive dental caries or defective restorations causing pain
- Manage with interim restorative techniques when possible (silver diamine fluoride, glass ionomers)
- Suture removal
- Denture adjustment on radiation/oncology patients
- Denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded
- Replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain
- Snipping or adjustment of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa
If you’re experiencing any dental emergencies that we covered in the information above, you can call us at 717.243.9020 to talk to our treatment coordinators or after-hours doctors. It is important to follow the instructions of health officials at this time to ensure we’re all doing our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We’re here to help our patients in the Carlisle Area with their dental issues during this trying time. Please call us at 717.243.9020 to discuss any oral health issues or questions you may have.