Should I go to the Dentist during the Coronavirus Outbreak?

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coronavirus outbreakSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

Update: The care and safety and the safety of our team is our top priority.  Based on recommendations from the ADA and CDC, we’re temporarily changing the way our practice operates.  As of Monday, March 16, 2020, Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is following a modified schedule. Your dental care and urgent concerns are important to us and we are here for you and want to make sure that your needs are taken care of.  Please call (831) 438-4411 to arrange for any emergency care or to answer any of your questions. Our practice aims to resume normal business operations April 8, 2020.  As recommendations are changing rapidly regarding physical distancing, we encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to remain informed of any updates to our practice hours or other important information.

It’s hard to ignore the media headlines fueling a surge of panic among people across the globe, even right here in the Bay Area with recent novel coronavirus outbreaks. General dentists in Scotts Valley at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry understand patients have many questions and concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19). Because your health and safety is our top priority, we want to share some insightful information with you regarding the coronavirus and what to do about going to the dentist.

First and foremost, we advise everyone to follow the guidelines of local authorities.  This includes following physical distancing protocols.  While inconvenient, physical distancing is a proven way of lessening the impact COVID-19 can have on our healthcare system, reducing mortality rates, and mitigating the spread of disease.  The best way to protect yourself is to practice frequent hand washing hygiene (washing with soap for at least 20 seconds), covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and staying home if you are sick.

The CDC reports that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and lung diseases are most at risk of becoming very ill from COVID-19. We encourage you to speak with your primary care physician for specific concerns regarding your health and risk of contracting the virus if you have an underlying health condition.

Should I go to the dentist for a dental cleaning during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Our current recommendation at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is to follow the guidance of health organizations, public health officials, and your individual dental office.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop taking care of your teeth and gums, however!  The immune system starts in the mouth. The CDC reports that gum disease affects nearly half of adults in the U.S. and there are severe health risks associated with poor oral health, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cognitive decline that leads to Alzheimer’s. While the outbreak of COVID-19 may have people panicking, the health threats associated with poor oral health are also serious.

What if I have a dental emergency, should I go to the dentist with the threat of coronavirus everywhere?

Toothaches and dental emergencies always seem to happen at the most inconvenient time, and they won’t stop just because of a viral outbreak. Ignoring a dental emergency is not advised, especially if you are in pain. Dental pain could indicate an infection that could easily spread to your brain or heart and become life threatening. If you experience dental pain of any kind, we urge you to call our emergency dental office in Scotts Valley to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. For dental emergencies that aren’t painful, such as a minor chipped tooth or loose crown, our Los Gatos general dentists advise that you call and we will advise on whether your condition requires an immediate in-person visit.  An exposed tooth, such as from a broken tooth, loose crown, or filling that falls out, could result in pain or cause further damage to the tooth.

How does Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry protect patients against coronavirus?

At our general dentistry practice in Scotts Valley, our doctors, and each of our team members is trained in OSHA standards for cleaning and sanitizing our practice, including patient rooms and all equipment used for patient care. Our office uses EPA-approved disinfectants specially designed for use in a healthcare setting to kill viruses and bacteria, and other blood-borne pathogens. Also, our dental care team members that provide direct care to patients wear protective gear, including gloves, surgical masks, and goggles for eye protection. These efforts help minimize the risk of transmitting germs from one patient to another. We also adhere to the CDC’s hand hygiene recommendation for washing our hands thoroughly and between treating patients. These sanitizing and sterilization methods are in effect regardless of whether a patient presents with an infectious disease. For us, the coronavirus outbreak does not alter how we disinfect and clean our practice, because we always take necessary precautions that protect our patients and keep them safe.

When should I not go to the dentist?

For the safety of our dental care team and other patients, we ask that you call our office prior to coming into your appointment if you have a fever, cough, traveled outside of the country recently (or been in close contact with someone who has), or been in close proximity with an individual that has a received a positive test result for the coronavirus.

If you would like more information about how we care for our patients or to schedule an appointment, please call Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411. We provide dental care to the areas of Los Gatos, Scotts Valley, and Santa Cruz.