Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While things have changed, one thing has remained the same: dentistry is open and we are committed to your health and safety.
Infection control has always been a top priority at Maple Glen Family Dentistry, and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable.
Now more than ever it’s so important to see your dentist for your cleaning, exam and to take care of any treatment needs. Although we don’t know all of the lasting effects of the Coronavirus virus, we do know that left untreated, dental health concerns can worsen and lead to systemic health concerns. We also know that systemic health issues can make an individual more susceptible to coronavirus symptoms and could lead to further complications.
Over the course of this pandemic and the shutdown that occurred earlier this year, our office has noticed an increased prevalence of tooth fractures likely related to coronavirus stress. To combat this, we encourage our patients to follow relaxation techniques before bedtime including reducing screen time approximately 30 minutes prior to bedtime, reducing over-consumption of alcohol, and trying to fall asleep with the teeth apart. It is important to find a routine that reduces stress as most bedtime teeth grinding is related to increased stress. And who hasn’t had some form of increased stress related to this pandemic? Many people have found that drinking decaffeinated tea, reading a book, taking a hot bath or taking time to meditate has been helpful to reduce stress and reduce teeth grinding at night. For some people, these techniques are helpful but ultimately do not lead to a reduction in grinding. For these individuals, we recommend wearing a night guard, while you sleep, to keep the teeth apart and keep them safe from the harmful effects of grinding. Your dentist can design a night guard made specifically for your unique mouth that will be both comfortable and functional. Should you discover that you have a cracked tooth or notice wear or chipping of your teeth, a visit with your dentist is always the best option to determine if treatment is necessary.
In addition to teeth grinding, there has been a noticeable increase in patients experiencing gum pain and inflammation. These symptoms have been linked to increased periodontal infections. During the shutdown, dental offices were not allowed to provide critical periodontal care and routine cleanings. This has led to an overabundance of oral bacteria in the oral cavity and new infections. At this time, all dental treatment is considered essential and maintaining your gum health is critical to maintaining a healthy body. Your gums are the window to the rest of your body and infections in the gums can lead to systemic infections, abscesses, heart disease, failure of artificial joints and valves and in rare cases can become life threatening. Additionally, having an infection in your gums can reduce the body’s immune system from being able to fight viruses and bacteria, such as the coronavirus.
Although it may seem scary to even leave the house right now, your dental office is one of the safest places to be. Dental offices have been leaders in infection control long before the pandemic and with the heightened awareness and additional infection control processes, any dental treatment should be safe for you and your family. We wish you continued good health and hopefully we will be back to our normal routines soon.