MILWAUKEE -- While dentists may be closed for preventive care, don't put your toothbrushes down. Doctors say keeping your oral health is more important than ever for adults and children alike.
The spread of the coronavirus put an abrupt stop to our normal routine. Preventive visits to dentist offices were delayed, but unfortunately, that's also when a lot of problems are detected.
"We've only been able to provide emergency care," Dr. Kevin Donly, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said. "Oral health is actually a medical necessity."
Because oral health is critical to overall health, Donly maintaining your child's oral care routine is essential to preventing dental emergencies during the pandemic. Those emergencies are categorized in three ways.
"Trauma, where a kid bumps their tooth, falls down and cracks their tooth," Donly said. "Second, infection. We've seen kids with facial cellulitis, this can be detrimental to their overall health, we really need to see those kids right away.
"The other one is pain. Sometimes they have really deep cavities that cause a lot of pain and they need to see the pediatric dentist right away and get care."
Donly says with some offices reopening soon, new protocols will be taken to ensure everyone's safety.
"First of all you, will be contacted a day before your appointment for a prescreening call," said Donly. "They will ask about a child's health, are they feeling well? Are they running a fever?"
There will be spaces in waiting rooms due to social distancing, and dental assistants, hygienists and dentists will all be wearing gowns, masks and face shields, Donly said.
Prevention is key with regular cleanings delayed. When it comes to prevention, Donly recommends brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste a couple of times a day, try to keep sugary drinks and snacks away, and check your kids' teeth on a daily basis.