Patient Safety

coronavirus safetyWhile we have always practiced the highest standards of OSHA compliance, universal precautions, and sterilization, we’d like to inform you of some additional precautions we are taking in order to create a safe environment for patients and staff.

  • Detailed pre-screening of all patients for symptoms prior to arrival: If you are currently experiencing or have experienced in the last three weeks, signs of acute respiratory illness such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath or if you have come in contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19, PLEASE DO NOT COME INTO THE OFFICE.
  • If possible, we do request that you wear a mask to your appointment
  • We will start with a decreased schedule to ease patient flow
  • We will request you to wait in your car upon arrival. Call us when you arrive and we will let you know if your treatment room is ready.
  • Family members/visitors will need to wait in the car during your appointments.
  • Increased levels of personal protective equipment for staff (PPE)
  • Increased levels of sanitation
  • Temperature monitoring of all staff and patients

Our office continues to monitor and adhere to all current CDC, IDA, and ADA recommendations.

We appreciate your flexibility and support and look forward to welcoming you to our office in the safest way possible!

Schedule an Appointment Today!

For questions or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call. We are looking forward to caring for you and your family!

Should I Maintain My Dental Appointments During the Pandemic?

With the current pandemic, there are many who are trying to keep from leaving the house as much as they can. They are avoiding any appointments which could be unnecessary.

But is it a good idea to put off visits to the dentist?

It turns out that the opposite may be true, according to a paper published recently in the British Dental Journal.

Dentists have known for a long while now about the way your oral health is connected to the overall condition of the rest of your body.

In Victoria Sampson’s paper, she examines the ways that bacteria found in the mouth may be tied to many of the COVID-19 virus’s more serious complications.

What serious complications are connected with COVID-19?

Dangerous complications of the virus include:

  • Blood clots
  • Septic shock
  • Sepsis 
  • ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)
  • Pneumonia

These complications are actually more likely to cause death than COVID-19 itself. COVID-19 is a virus, but the majority of these complications are actually caused by a bacterial infection. Studies are finding that 80% of ICU patients are shown to have elevated levels of harmful bacteria, requiring treatment with antibiotics. These studies imply that bacteria are a major factor when it comes to the severity of COVID-19 infections.

In what ways are COVID-19 complications linked to the mouth?

The bacteria in our mouths are likely to find their way into the respiratory tract. A lot of the same varieties of bacteria found in periodontitis may cause or worsen problems like pneumonia or sepsis.

This is where the need for oral hygiene comes in. Good oral health can lessen the transfer of bad types of bacteria between the lungs and the mouth. There have been studies that have revealed that improved oral health may lower the possibility of ventilator-associated pneumonia in patients in the ICU, as well as help, prevent bacterial superinfection.

Don’t postpone going to the dentist!

While it may be a scary time to visit the dentist, this actually is the best time to ensure that you’re in the best oral health you can. A healthy mouth can reduce your chances of COVID-19 complications, and is good for the health of your body.

If you have a dental concern you want to have checked out, or you’re past due for a visit, get in touch with Plainfield Family Dentistry now to schedule an appointment with Dr. Williams.

What Can Be Done to Avoid SARS-CoV-2?

SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19, is a virus with no vaccine currently available. Avoiding being exposed to this virus is the best defense that’s available.

How does the virus spread from person to person?

COVID-19 transmission tends to happen person-to-person. This ordinarily occurs because of respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking in close contact (within six feet) of other people. These aerosolized particles can enter through the mouth, nose, or eyes, and may also be directly inhaled into the lungs.

It is important to know that people can still be contagious while not having any symptoms.

The novel coronavirus can also be transmitted by coming into contact with surfaces where respiratory droplets have landed and touching your face afterward.

How can I defend myself?

The recommended ways to prevent being exposed to the COVID-19 virus are as follows:

  • Be sure to maintain a distance of 6’ from other people when in public spaces.
  • You should wash your hands frequently, and be sure you are doing it the correct way.
  • Use hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap. It should contain at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose without washing your hands beforehand.
  • Be sure to wear a mask or cloth face covering when out in public. (Cloth masks should be washed periodically.)
  • Make sure to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Be sure to regularly disinfect and clean surfaces.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild or severe. Check your temperature should you believe you could have symptoms of COVID-19, as a fever is a primary symptom. COVID-19 symptoms are listed below:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and/or muscle aches
  • Loss of your sense(s) of taste or smell
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose or congestion

Which people are most at risk?

Even though anyone can have severe complications because of infection from COVID-19, the ones who are in the most danger are people who are over sixty-five years old as well as individuals who have an underlying medical condition, like:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • A heart condition
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Severe obesity

Should I get sick, what should I do?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a website with guidelines to follow and a self-checker for those who think they may have COVID-19.

 

ADA Finds That Less Than 1% of Dentists Have Tested Positive for COVID

Patients concerned about visiting the dentist during the pandemic may find some reassurance in learning that the ADA has found that fewer than 1% of dentists have tested positive for COVID-19.

In the first large-scale collection of infection rates and infection control practices in the US, the ADA Science and Research Institute and Health Policy Institute in Chicago found that the methods recommended by the CDC and the ADA to keep patients and dental teams safe are working.

This data was collected from every state in the USA as well as Puerto Rico, and the ongoing survey is now working with the American Dental Hygienists Association to include dental hygienists in future updates.

In addition to ADA and CDC recommendations, most dental offices are going above and beyond when it comes to PPE, screening procedures, sterilization, and minimizing aerosols. Thanks to this dedication to safety, the ADA states that the rate of infection for dentists are far below those for other medical professionals.

The vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., stated: “The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows. We will continue to track the rate of COVID-19 among dentists and other facets of the pandemic affecting dentistry so it can help inform the dental profession and other industries as well.”

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a concern all of us share, but, fortunately, with the safety protocols currently in place, patients should feel safer at dental visits than most other activities they may take during the pandemic.

Are COVID-19 Lockdowns Leading to More Orofacial Pain?

The pandemic has resulted in a stressful time for everyone in the world, and, for many people, this stress can result in orofacial pain.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine took a look at patients in two countries and examined how the stress of COVID-19 lockdowns may have caused an increase in jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding, and orofacial pain.

Some of the findings from the study by the University of Wroclaw and Tel Aviv University were:

  • 12% increase in orofacial pain symptoms
  • 15% increase in jaw-clenching
  • 26% increase in teeth grinding
  • For those who were already suffering from orofacial pain, there was a 15% increase in severity
  • Women were more affected by these increases than men
  • Patients in the age range of 35-55 were the most affected

Whether due to concerns over the virus, financial issues, isolation during quarantine, or other situations resulting from the lockdowns, it’s evident that problems such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and temporomandibular disorders are increasing during these stressful times.

For those suffering from these issues—including head, neck, and jaw pain, tension headaches, earaches, tooth sensitivity in the absence of a dental problem—help is available. Depending on the specific nature of the problem, these can be relieved with night guards, bite splints, or bite adjustments.

If you believe you are one of the people suffering from pain as a result of this type of stress, get in touch with our office to take your first step toward finding relief.

COVID-19 and Other Outbreaks

As of November of 2020, there have been more than 56 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide. While 39 million of those have recovered, the virus has claimed the lives of over 1.3 million people, with many cases still active.

While an outbreak of this size and severity is a new experience for most of us, it is hardly unique. Many such outbreaks have happened throughout history, and without the benefit of modern medicine, they have resulted in far higher death tolls than COVID-19.

To put it in perspective, here are some of the outbreaks that past generations have gone through.

Smallpox

There are records of what is believed to have been Smallpox as far back as 300 BC in ancient Egypt. The disease is believed to have killed three out of every ten people who contracted it, and it has persisted all the way to the modern era. It wasn’t until 1980 that vaccination efforts managed to eradicate the virus worldwide.

Bubonic plague

Known as the Black Death, the Bubonic plague first appeared in Europe and Asia in the mid-1330s and continued on until the early 1350s. The US had an epidemic in Los Angeles as recently as 1924. While antibiotics are available to treat the disease when caught early, the disease is still present, with around 1,000-3,000 cases annually around the world. The bubonic plague is believed to have killed more than 20 million people in Europe alone.

Cholera

Believed to have been around since the 4th century BC, the first known Cholera pandemic began in India in 1817, with a second occurring in 1829. This second outbreak became a pandemic, spreading through Europe, and North America. There were multiple Cholera pandemics between the years of 1852 and 1923, and outbreaks continue even today, with approximately 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths annually across the world. The spread of Cholera can be prevented with proper sanitation and clean drinking water.

The Spanish Flu

Caused a type of H1N1 flu virus, the Spanish Flu was first identified in the US in 1918. The spread of the virus was likely expedited by troop movements during World War I, with the virus infecting 500 million people across the world. More than 50 million people died from this variant of the flu. The pandemic was eventually stopped through quarantine, disinfectants, and improvements in personal hygiene.

Malaria

Spread by a parasite carried by mosquitos, malaria has likely existed since the Stone Age and is still around today. Most cases are now in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as a program started by the World Health Organization in 1955 helped to eliminate the disease in many parts of the world. Currently, there are about 2,000 cases of malaria diagnosed in the world annually.

Fortunately for us, research on COVID-19 has progressed quickly and promising vaccines are already in development. In the meantime, practices like ours are using modern medical knowledge to help prevent the spread of infection through safety protocols that keep both our dental team and our patients safe.

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