During this difficult period of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is challenging to navigate normal life, let alone emergency issues. We are all tasked with determining when and where to go out for supplies and essential needs. In addition, many of us are left wondering when it is appropriate to seek care if we have a health or dental issue unrelated to the novel Coronavirus. We've put together this guide to help you navigate dental emergencies and COVID-19. Throughout this crisis and as Colorado starts to ease restrictions on dental treatment, Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry is here to help.
A dental emergency is defined as an issue of high importance involving the teeth and supporting tissues. But in this trying time, how do you determine what is of "high importance?" Perhaps it's better to say a dental emergency is a condition that puts the patient at high risk. This includes severe infection and swelling or significant bleeding. Issues that impact your breathing or ability to eat and drink are also considered dental emergencies.
Before the pandemic, the answer of what to do during a dental emergency was simple. Contact your dentist or seek immediate treatment at a local emergency room or urgent care clinic. However today, it is not recommended that you go directly to an ER or urgent care unless it is an extreme emergency, i.e. a life threatening issue. There is still a simple solution to a dental emergency, contact your dentist for more instructions. They will be able to evaluate your condition and suggest the best course of treatment. In some cases they can even recommend at home treatments to relieve the issue until you can get back into the office to see the dentist again.
For smaller issues that still require attention like toothaches or broken crowns, contact your dentist to learn more about home treatment. Toothaches can be treated with OTC pain relievers, and thankfully stock of these items in many stores is starting to replenish if you've run out. If you experience pain and swelling in your mouth, a simple warm saltwater rinse can provide temporary relief for the inflammation. What if you lose a filling or have a crown or bridge fall out? There is actually an OTC filling compound you can use to temporarily repair this issue until you can see your dentist again. It is available in most pharmacy stores or you can have it overnighted online.
We'd like to stress don't feel like you have to treat these issues alone. Contact us for support and guidance. This will ensure you're treating the issue properly and avoiding any unnecessary complications.
As we talk about dental emergencies and COVID-19, it's important to talk about what not to do as well. In the wake of this pandemic, it's not wise to attempt extreme sports or anything that puts your health or your teeth at significant risk. For example, even though we are all a little stir crazy, mountain biking, skateboarding or other high risk activities should be avoided. You don't want to further strain medical care that is already stretched thin. The same goes for risky housework or projects. Now is not the time to clean your gutters or get up on your roof. Doing this will help avoid any unnecessary healthcare visits or conditions like chipped, fractured or knocked-out teeth.
Even though we are still social distancing and waiting for community guidelines to change, you're not alone through this crisis. You can contact us whenever you need advice or support for your oral health. If we're not immediately available, we will respond asap to address your needs. Dental emergencies and COVID-19 doesn't have to be scary. Stay calm and take the right steps to keep you and your family safe and healthy. Contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry whenever you need support.