While Covid evolves, routine dental care remains safe: What to know before you go
By Mark Kelsey
Insurance Industry Expert & Author
We hope all of you and your families are enjoying a healthy and safe summer! As everyone knows, the
Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every part of our lives, and dentists have altered their
practices as a result. Currently, vaccinations against the virus are trailing behind recommended levels.
In addition, the virus continues to mutate and spread. As a result, guidelines for mask-wearing and
social distancing – even for those who have been vaccinated – are again changing in many areas of the
US. So, should you be concerned about visiting the dentist?
Probably not. According to American Dental Association (ADA) President Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D,
studies showing a "very low COVID-19 infection rate for dentists and dental hygienists prove that dental
practices are safe workplaces."
For example, in October 2020, the ADA published results of a study that found the COVID-19 rate among dentists was less than 1% . The study was
conducted by the American Dental Association Science & Research Institute and Health Policy Institute
study. "This is very good news for dentists and patients," said Dr. Marcelo Araujo, Ph.D., the ADA’s
chief science officer. "This means that what dentists are doing — heightened infection control and
increased attention to patient and dental team safety — is working." In addition, "it’s helping to keep
the dental team and their patients as safe as possible," Araujo said.
In addition, study results published in February 2021 showed that only 3.1% of dental hygienists have had COVID-19. According to the report,
"This is in alignment with the cumulative infection prevalence rate among dentists and far below that of
other health professionals in the U.S."
Together, these studies indicate that a routine trip to the dentist is now considered to be relatively
safe, and patients should certainly not delay critical dental services.
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Dentistry is Essential Health Care
Government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management
Agency have acknowledged dentistry as an essential service, ADA News reported in August
2020. According to ADA President Chad P. Gehani, "dentistry is an essential service. Whether it's the
current pandemic, a future epidemic or a natural disaster in a particular area, [the ADA] recognizes the
need for people to be able to continue to access the full range of dental services."
According to the ADA, you should contact your dentist if you are experiencing
any of the following:
Don’t Delay Urgent Dental Care
Bleeding that does not stop
Painful swelling in or around your mouth
Pain in a tooth, teeth, or jawbone
Gum infection with pain or swelling
After surgery treatment (dressing change, stitch removal)
Broken or knocked out tooth
What to Expect if You Visit the Dentist
If your dentist is able to see you, what can you expect? Dentists will have their own procedures for
dealing with patients during this time.
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Tips and Reminders for Maintaining Your Oral Health
Our team at DentalInsurance.com would like to share the following tips and guidance for maintaining oral
health during these extraordinary times. We recommend the following practices at home to help avoid
emergency dental issues.
Continue to brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once a day
Use mouthwash, soft picks, and water flossers to help reduce plaque
Avoid sticky, sugary foods, which can cause decay
Use caution when eating hard foods, which can cause tooth fracture
Clean your toothbrush thoroughly after each use
Maintaining good oral hygiene during these times is not just about protecting your teeth. It is also
important for boosting immunity and fighting the virus.
As the vaccines continue to be administered, there is cause for real, tangible hope that the worst of
this pandemic will soon be behind us. Nevertheless, we need to hang on and remain vigilant to help
ensure a strong and lasting recovery.
Please, stay healthy and safe!
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