It is still very important to keep up with your regular dental hygiene visits even as we navigate this pandemic. To our knowledge there has not been any known case of COVID-19 transmission in a dental office. Despite this, we have noticed a decrease in regularly scheduled hygiene care. We are starting to see patients coming back in to see us now after delays due to the shut down earlier this year, with significant irreversible bone loss around their teeth.
We genuinely care about your oral health and are concerned about the long term effects of delaying hygiene appointments. Many people feel if they brush and floss everyday that seeing the hygienist isn’t “necessary” because they are not experiencing any pain or discomfort. However, Periodontal disease (gum disease) is very common and often asymptomatic until later stages of the disease, when it is much more difficult to treat. Brushing and flossing does not clean the calculus and bacteria build up beneath the gums, which causes inflammation and bone loss. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.
What is the link? Bacteria and inflammation.
The same bacteria implicated in Periodontal disease are responsible for the development of atherosclerotic plaques in our arteries. It is a similar effect to smoking on cardiovascular health! In addition, any medical conditions you may have also contribute to your risk for periodontal disease, such as diabetes and other autoimmune conditions. In these cases regular dental hygiene visits become even more important.
There is evidence that patients with periodontal disease may be more likely to have negative outcomes with COVID-19. The theory is that if the body is already primed for inflammation, it could contribute to worse outcomes in inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and COVID-19.
For more information on why periodontal health is important for your overall health and immunity, check out this article:
In case you weren’t aware, here is a summary of our COVID-19 Safety precautions:
- Daily COVID pre-screening questionnaire for patients and staff
- Temperature and pulse oximetry checks for patients and staff upon entry into the clinic (all staff test twice/day).
- Peroxide Oral rinse prior to treatment (kills COVID-19 virus if it was present in the oral cavity)
- Aerosol reduction: high volume suctions used for all procedures including dental hygiene, dental dams for all dental procedures. Studies have shown this eliminates more than 95% of aerosols produced during treatment.
- PPE: All patients wear masks when not in treatment rooms. All staff wear gowns, face shields, level 3 or N95 masks.
- Surgically Clean Air purifiers in every room (increasing air exchanges/hour – air is completely turned over every 10 minutes)
- Closed treatment rooms
- Only fresh air enters our clinic (no recycled air from building)
- Increased time between appointments allowing for full disinfection of treatment rooms and minimizing number patients in waiting room
- Frequent disinfection of all high touch surfaces in clinic (door handles etc.)
Many patients have commented on how impressed they are with all of our enhanced safety measures when they come in to see us.
We hope you found this post useful, let us know if you have any questions below!