Coronavirus And Your Dental Appointments
Current advice from Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford.
The spread of the Coronavirus has reached a point where few of us can be unaware of it. It may not have reached the level in the UK that it has in some other countries but this could well change in the near future. Patients should listen to advice given by experts, such as washing your hands well for 20 seconds, but it can also be difficult to avoid the more sensationalist and even false news as well.
It is understandable that some of our Chelmsford patients will be concerned about the virus in general, and may be particularly concerned about both catching and spreading it if they go to see their dentist. This is understandable, but as things currently stand, we believe that there is no reason to cancel your appointment unless you believe you may have been infected or unless the Government advises. In today’s blog, we look at some of the dental related issues around the Coronavirus.
Cross infection Control
Cross infection is always a small risk when you receive dental treatment but great care is taken to keep this to an absolute minimum. Dentists will always wear face masks and protective gloves whilst performing any procedure, including check ups. Both of these are used for one time only and then carefully disposed of.
All multi-use equipment is thoroughly sterilised after being used on each patient and any viruses that linger will be killed during the process.
Our dental practice is always thoroughly deep cleaned and although we always do make sure this is done well, the Coronavirus has obviously highlighted the need to do this extremely thoroughly.
It is not just the surgeries which are cleaned. The waiting room and all other areas are kept clean as well, minimising the risk of infections being passed on when you visit our Chelmsford practice.
How real are the risks?
The current advice is that whilst it is naturally better to avoid the virus, many people’s symptoms will be relatively mild and the current belief is that once you have had it, you will be immune to future infections. It is still early days however and new advice is emerging regularly. Older patients and those with other illnesses are at greater risk though and additional care should be taken to avoid the virus in these cases. By and large, with the care that our dental team takes to minimise any risks of cross infection, you are probably at no more risk of catching this virus here than you are in a supermarket, on a bus or at an airport, and probably much less so in the latter case.
There is general advice that should be followed. If you need to cough or sneeze, please do so into a tissue and dispose of safely at home. Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not into your hand. Make sure that you wash your hands well both before and after your visit and please use the hand sanitisers located around our practice.
Should you cancel your appointment?
Unless advised otherwise, we urge our patients to continue coming to their appointments as usual. Naturally, we keep ourselves updated on the latest professional advice and if things should change, we will let you know. There are risks to not coming for your appointment and if you avoid them, your oral health is almost certain to suffer, with tooth decay and gum diseases quite possible. Nobody wants a toothache caused by decay or infected gums due to neglect.
Not only can gum disease lead to periodontitis if left for a long time, causing wobbly teeth or even tooth loss, but it has been increasingly linked with some serious health issues including heart problems and strokes.
Dentists also look for other possible health issues that can be indicated by problems of the mouth. The most serious of these is oral cancer. Like all cancers, the sooner it is detected, the better the treatment outcome is likely to be. We can’t diagnose oral cancer but we can detect possible symptoms and, if we do, will advise that you see your doctor for further examination. The sooner this is done, the better, so any delays are inadvisable.
Common sense is especially important at this particular point and whilst it is important to be responsible and to follow the advice of professionals, you should also continue to receive your dental care to prevent oral health issues from arising.
At Blue Sky Dental, we take patient care and safety very seriously, and will do all that we can to prevent any spread of this and other viruses within our practice environment. This appears to be a fast moving situation and patients can be assured that we will keep you updated should the situation change. Until such a time, please continue to come to our practice for your appointment unless you show signs of the virus or if there is Government advice to the contrary.
If you do suspect that you may be exhibiting the symptoms of the virus and need to cancel your appointment, we do understand. Simply let us know as soon as you can by calling us on 01245 211070. Please take care at this difficult time.