Identifying Dental Emergencies and Managing Preventative Care During COVID-19
Dental providers statewide – including Berdy Dental Group – are currently closed for everything but emergencies through May 8. Dr. Cary Berdy was asked to come on WJXT- The Local Station to help viewers understand what constitutes a dental emergency and how increased attention to at-home dental care can help prevent potential troubles during this challenging time. Continue reading to learn more, or view the full News4Jax segment here.
Why Dentists’ Offices Are Closed in Florida (and in many other states)
The American Dental Association recently advised dentists to offer only emergency care to their patients amid the current coronavirus pandemic. Then, our state governor sent out an order that echoed the ADA’s recommendation.
This is obviously a very tough time not only for Berdy Dental Group, but thousands of other practices across the state of Florida. We really love our patients and we pride ourselves on the comprehensive dental care we offer. However, we are grateful to be able to concentrate on emergency dental care, as we know it will alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments. We’re happy to do our part in lessening the strain on our fellow healthcare providers who are working round the clock to help those affected by the novel coronavirus.
What constitutes a dental emergency?
The American Dental Association defined dental emergencies as conditions within the mouth that are potentially life threatening or require immediate treatment, including treatments to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain, or stop serious infection.
Some common examples of very serious dental emergencies include:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Soft tissue bacterial infections
- Any condition with swelling that could potentially constrict the patient’s airway
- Trauma involving facial bones
The American Dental Association defined some urgent dental care treatments, which technically fall under the realm of an emergency, but are not as severe as those mentioned above. These are treatments which require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or lower the risk of infection and where dentists really should be used rather than going to the emergency room.
Examples of such urgent dental care treatments include:
- Severe dental pain from inflammation
- Abscesses or localized bacterial infections resulting in localized pain and swelling
- Tooth fractures resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
- Dental trauma with loose teeth or lost teeth
- Issues with tooth restoration and lingering gingival irritation
Pain level and amount of swelling should really be your guideline with any of these.
If you have one of these problems, immediately contact Berdy Dental Group and we’ll do our best to triage your issue on the phone. Rest assured that if you do need to come in, we are will treat the issue with in the most minimally invasive way.
How to Take Care of Your Teeth During COVID?
For many patients, it’s their routine dental cleaning that kickstarts those smart dental habits which help prevent cavities as well as the progression of serious dental conditions. That said, it is crucial for our patients to be extra vigilant with their homecare habits during this time since we can't see them for preventative maintenance appointments.
Some important tips for this include:
- Make sure you’re brushing every single day, at least two times a day for 2-3 minutes. Use an ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste (look for the ADA seal on the side of the box).
- Floss each day to keep the gum tissue clean and healthy. Consider ordering a Waterpik and starting to incorporate that into your routine as well.
- Use an alcohol-based mouthwash to kill germs, or one that has fluoride for extra cavity-fighting protection.
- Focus on your diet. While it can be tempting to stock up on sweets and starchy foods, try to keep a healthy balance of these to avoid plaque accumulation. You should also work to avoid hard candies or foods that could lead to a cracked tooth.
Above all, pay close attention to both your dental hygiene habits as well as any symptoms you’re experiencing during this time. We look forward to seeing many smiling faces in our office for cleanings and other preventative care appointments as soon as we’re safely able.
If you need help with a dental emergency, call our office at 904.389.1376.