Dentistry is essential to a person’s overall healthcare, but many people have been reluctant to see their dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Dr. Raunak Patel, dentists have been prepared to deal with infectious diseases for decades. “Even though dental offices are aerosol–creating environments, the benefits of going to a dentist outweigh the risks,” he said.
When deciding whether to go to the dentist, Dr. Patel advises people to consider the important benefits of good oral hygiene.
“Poor oral health has been linked to several serious diseases including oral cancer, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and obesity,” Dr. Patel said. “Dental cleanings and checkups at least every six months help identify any problems early while they’re easier to treat and before they start to affect the rest of the body.”
Comfort is also a consideration when making the decision on whether to see the dentist regularly. “Cavities can be filled before they cause pain, sealants can be applied to help protect teeth against decay, and gum disease can be treated,” Dr. Patel said. That advice also extends to children. “Regular dental checkups prevent gum diseases in your children and dental visits protect your child against tarter, cavities, plaque and tooth decay.”
At Dr. Patel’s practice, Today’s Dental of Beverly, the staff is following all guidelines from the American Dental Association (ADA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) to keep patients safe during the pandemic.
Those guidelines include taking temperature readings and symptom screenings as part of routine assessment prior to performing dental procedures; using appropriate personal protective equipment including face shields; using HEPA filters to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents; and using high-speed evacuation for all dental procedures producing an aerosol.
Other important safety measures in place at Today’s Dental include having patients rinse with 1.5 percent hydrogen peroxide before each appointment to reduce oral microbes; frequent cleaning and disinfecting of public areas and removal reading materials and other items that are not easily disinfected; and requiring patients to wait in their vehicles until their dental chair is to limit contact among patients.
“It’s our goal to keep our community healthy and smiling and we know regular dental visits can help,” Dr. Patel said.
Today’s Dental is located at 11238 S. Western. Learn more at 708-388-0001.