Dental care during coronavirus: Here is what you need to know
72-year-old Avinash Chander Sharma had scheduled tooth extraction, following which he had to get implants. But the lockdown halted his plan. He is in pain but too worried to get a dental procedure done in a hospital during the pandemic. 12-year-old Ganeve has palate expanders in her mouth, post which she was supposed to get her braces. But the lockdown shelved the plan and now she has to bear with the expanders for longer now. Dentists are opening their clinics with protective gear and necessary precautions but people are scared to venture out.
While it is okay for patients wanting a crown, regular cleaning to put their plans on hold, there are certain procedures that should not be delayed. As we all know COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere and this is the new normal. So we have to learn to live with it.
But there are serious challenges ahead. Dental care is sometimes urgent, and putting it off can at times flare up the issue. While some issues can be handled through teleconsultation but many times it requires personal visits. Dr. Tanvir Singh, B.D.S., M.D.S. (Ortho) and Director, Dentem shares, “20 yrs of dental practice has taught me that nothing is worse than a dental pain irrespective of nature and reason. Also, it purely depends on the pain threshold of the patient what might be just sensitivity for us it can be sleepless nights for someone. But according to the IDA, pain related to swelling, inflammation, fracture tooth, and bleeding come under severe dental emergencies.”
It is important for the clinics to thoroughly carry out thermal screening. Dentem is giving patients protective disposable gowns as they enter the clinic. Even doctors wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for the procedures performed.
It is imperative that clinics adhere to the highest standards of sterilization of chairs and dental instruments. Only allowing one patient per chair will also help curtail the risk to a greater extent. Constant sanitization of surfaces also becomes non-negotiable.
Not only for patients, but dental procedures can also be risky for the dentist as well. Since many procedures use high-pressure sprays of water and air, it can actually spread the aerosols from a positive patient in the room. To tackle it, clinics need high-quality HEPA filtration to ensure the air is constantly cleaned. Face shields can also help to some extent in protecting against aerosols.
But most dentists are worried about the side effects of delayed dental care. An unattended cavity might have reached the stage of a root canal or even tooth removal. A removed tooth that had to be implanted may be causing bone loss. Some degree of risk is also involved in the case of unaddressed gum issues. It can lead to inflammation, which can lower down one’s immunity.
For those who have issues that need immediate care should immediately book a tele appointment with the dentist. For others, Dr. Singh has some home remedies:
Cold Compress – Use of ice packs is one of the simplest techniques to relieve pain. Apply the ice directly on the affected tooth externally on the cheek to numb the area.
Garlic – For thousands of years, garlic has been known for its medicinal properties. Crush a garlic clove to make it a paste and apply it to the affected area. You may add a little salt to it or slowly chew the Clove of garlic.
Vanilla – Vanilla extract contains alcohol which helps to numb the pain. It’s antioxidant properties also make it an effective healer and can apply some to the affected area.
Alcohol – For the ones who love the taste of it, alcohol on a cotton swab quickly numbs the area and relieves you from pain
Wheat Grass – Wheatgrass has countless healing properties. It heals the body inside out. It has high chlorophyll content which fights bacteria well. Use wheatgrass juice as an instant mouthwash.
Tips to take care of your dental health
Do not skip brushing twice a day
You must use a mouthwash after every meal to tackle unwanted particles in your mouth. Rinse for 30 seconds before you spit out.
Massage your gums in a circular motion to ensure gums are healthy
Do not skip the process of tongue cleaning. You can clean it with the help of cotton and glycerine
Ensure you visit your dentist – but due to the pandemic, it is important to ensure maximum oral hygiene.