Dental treatment during the Covid-19 Crisis:

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This article will answer the most common questions regarding the type of dental services that should not be postponed.  The Covid-19 virus outbreak has caused many cities to lock-down, closing businesses where people interact face to face.  As a result of these lockdowns people now have limited access to dental care.  In the state of Texas, dental office are scheduled to reopen on May 1, 2020.

Government halts elective dental care.

Governors have set broad and general directives as to which type of businesses are to remain open.  Additionally, guidelines have been set regarding what type of services businesses may continue to provide. Dental practices have been affected by these lock-down rules.  As a result, in some cities most dental offices are currently closed.

The goal of limiting health care activities is to reduce the contagious spread of the Covid-19 virus.  The consequences of contracting the covid-19 virus can be grave.  Therefore, efforts to prevent the spread of the virus must be followed.  Unless it is necessary, avoid close contact with others.

However, as with any city or state-wide governmental action, the recommendations are broad.  These broad regulations leave detailed questions unanswered. The American Dental Association offers a source of information at Healthy

Patients should talk to there dentist about incomplete treatment.

City and state governments have generally recommended that all elective dental procedures be postponed.  However, patients currently in the middle of ongoing dental treatment may be wondering if weeks of delay might affect the outcome of there dental procedures.  Patients with questions should communicate with their dentist by phone, email or text.  Ask if it’s necessary to be seen in the dental office for follow-up care.

FAQ regarding urgent dental care during the Covid-19 pandemic

I will attempt to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding urgent dental care needs:

Question: Should I see a dentist for a broken tooth that has caused mild swelling of the face or neck?

Answer:  Swelling is often a sign of infection.  Facial infections, especially those causing a fever require immediate treatment.  If swelling is noticeable contact a dentist as soon as possible.   Mild swelling can enlarge and spread.  Swelling, if left untreated can affect the sinuses, eyes, airway and central nervous system.  Treat swelling as soon as possible.  If swelling is significant a visit to the emergency room is warranted.  Dental infections with swelling are best treated at early onset in a dental office setting.

Question:  Does a tooth that has broken at the level of the gumline need immediate care?

Answer:  In most cases the tooth should quickly be checked by a dentist.  A broken tooth, leaving an exposed tooth root remaining under the gum can lead to serious pain infection and swelling.

Question:  What should I do for a tooth that is sensitive to cold and hot drinks and also to biting pressure?

Answer:  Cold, hot, sweet sensitivity and tenderness to biting pressure are common signs of dental infections.  If any of these symptoms occur separately or in combination, contact your dentist as soon as possible.  Early treatment can prevent the need for root canal therapy or tooth extraction.

Question:  My porcelain crown came off, what should I do?

Answer:  See your dentist as soon as possible.   If a crown comes off the simplest care is to have it re-cemented (glued back) into place.  Bacteria will grow under loose crowns that are left in the mouth without being properly cemented into place.  The bacteria can case tooth decay, a bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.  The loose crown can also be potentially swallowed.  Teeth can quickly shift and move If the crown is left out of the mouth.   In just a few weeks, a missing crown can allow the neighboring teeth to move.  As a result of the movement, the crown will no longer fit.

Contact your dentist if you feel you may have a developing dental problem.

If you are fortunate and have a relationship with a dentist, simply reach out to them for advise regarding any dental concerns during this viral pandemic.   If you are in need of dental care and do not know a dentist, call upon Google.  You will probably have success finding a local dentist if you search “dentist open today”.

Roman Kotlarek D.D.S.  D/B/A Roman Dental practices comprehensive dental care that includes the prevention and treatment of dental emergencies.   Contact:   (281) 920-4200