Who could have imagined one year ago that a microscopic creation could have taken such a tremendous hold on the entire world? We have all been greatly affected by the spread of Covid-19 and are now working together worldwide to put an end to it.
Dentistry is one of the closest connected professions affected by this new Pandemic as the virus is spread through the saliva and can be contracted by coming in contact with an infected person. As a precaution, our governments have introduced the measures of isolation and social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” alongside promoting research towards medications to control and to prevent.
Dentistry is considered an essential service, however, due to the transmissibility of this virus, extra precautions are being taken by our governing councils to prevent risk of transmission.
The government has implemented a “state of emergency” and our college, which mandates our profession has stated that dentists and specialists are limited to only treating what they define as “true emergencies”. They define emergencies, as “trauma, significant infection, and prolonged bleeding or pain that can’t be managed by over the counter medications”.
Most “emergencies” that we see in our office on a daily basis, thankfully, don’t fall into these painful categories. Many people come in with some mild sensitivity, or a chipped tooth, or a sore area in the gums or jaw. Compared to the listed emergencies from the college, these seem mild, but when you are the one who is experiencing the discomfort, it is not so easy to hold off for an indeterminate period of time. So, the question becomes, what do we do?
First, we hope that we are able to return to open our offices as soon as we can. But we don’t have a crystal ball. In the meantime, we have made sure that our office is always staffed to receive calls from patients. In some cases, an explanation or a conversation with the dentist by phone can help to alleviate the issue. Some dental problems are temporal, meaning that they come and go, either from something that happened related to the gums, or trauma to the teeth. In these cases, we can monitor the problem over the phone and follow through until there is a resolution. In other cases, some attention is required. One common issue that arises is a chipped tooth. This can pose either a cosmetic or a discomfort issue as it scratches the side of the tongue. We have to gauge the seriousness of the issue on an individual basis. Some cases can be helped by simply smoothing the tooth with an emery board to remove the sharp spot.
In the case of ‘serious’ emergencies such as those listed by the college, our office triages patients over the phone and works closely with specialists who are able to remain open to treat them, in order to stabilize the patient until further treatment can be undertaken.
Our goals are to keep close communication with our patients during this unprecedented time and ensure that there are protocols in place to treat and relieve emergencies while following the guidelines presented to us.
As soon as we are allowed to resume our practice, we will ensure that all precautions are in place for us to deliver dentistry to the highest level of infection control and protection. Our pledge at Gasner Dental is to help all of our patients manage their dental issues during this time and to ensure continued care, management and support. You can reach Gail or one of the Dentists by contacting the office.
Wishing everyone continued health and safety.
- Dr. John Gasner