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At-Home or Emergency Care: How COVID-19 is Impacting Your Oral Health

March 12, 2020

Filed under: Reston Cosmetic Dentistry — dr_myles @ 2:20 pm
a young woman at home holding her cheek in pain as a result of a dental emergency

It is certainly a strange time in our world right now, as billions of people are being told to stay home in an attempt to combat the infectious respiratory disease now known as COVID-19. Also referred to as Coronavirus, it is having a major impact on businesses both large and small as well as hospitals and even your local dentist’s offices. So, what should you do if you are facing a dental crisis and need an emergency dentist? Learn just how impactful COVID-19 is to your oral health and what the ADA recommends you should do depending on the severity of your individual problem.

COVID-19: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Known as an infectious disease that causes respiratory illness, individuals with COVID-19 often have symptoms of coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. Although easily mistaken for other health-related issues, such as allergies and the flu, it is now more important than ever to be tested if you believe you may have contracted COVID-19.

To keep you and your loved ones safe during this time, make sure you are using soap and water to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If these items are unavailable, keep hand sanitizer nearby that contains at least 60% alcohol, as this will help to eliminate germs and contaminants. Lastly, make sure you are staying away from those who are sick (social distancing).  

What the ADA Says About Dental Emergencies

As many dentist’s offices are now closed and seeing only emergency patients, you may be wondering how to identify a real dental emergency, especially as the world attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Before, a toothache might warrant a visit to the dentist, but now, your dental team will need to determine its severity before suggesting in-office or at-home care.

Fortunately, many common dental emergencies (i.e. toothache, soft tissue injury, lost crown or filling) can be treated at home with over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, saltwater rinses, and even temporary dental adhesive. However, should you need immediate care, your dental team will be there to help.

To better understand what constitutes an actual dental emergency, the ADA recently released an easy-to-understand breakdown that categorizes different scenarios into three types:

  • Dental Emergencies: Increased swelling that will not go down, continuous bleeding, or trauma to the face/jawbone and could potentially block your airway.
  • Urgent Dental Care: Tooth fractures, dry sockets, abscess, denture adjustment for radiation/oncology patients, lost or broken crown, bride, or filling. These can be addressed by your dentist to alleviate emergency room visits.
  • Non-Emergency Dental Procedures: Checkups and cleanings, restorative or cosmetic dentistry, tooth extraction, orthodontics

Remember, your oral health is important, so don’t attempt to ignore a problem just because of the current situation. No matter what type of dental emergency you may be dealing with, don’t be afraid to contact your dentist’s office. Their team is available to answer questions, address concerns, and determine injury severity to ensure immediate care is given to those in serious need.

About the Author
Considered one of the top dentists in Northern Virginia, Dr. Wayne Myles has provided comprehensive dental services since 1997. Attending SUNY at Binghamton, he graduated with a degree in biology before going to Georgetown Dental School and graduating in 1990. As the world battles what is known as COVID-19, he and his team want you to know that should you need assistance for a dental emergency, they are available to help. No matter the type of injury, make sure to visit our website or call (703) 925-0800 for help.

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