The Revival Of Dental Care
Dental wellbeing, although neglected by many people, is fundamental to overall health. Maintaining great oral health should be our priority as it not only influences our physical health but also psychological health.
All the routine dental appointments were widely cancelled from 25th march, 2020 to reduce the spread of coronavirus, with dentists only able to offer advice and prescriptions over the phone. Since the time lockdown has eased, patients with pain, swelling in gums, dislodged bridge, or tooth fractures are trying to get the treatment done.While the government has not categorised these under urgent procedures, resolving these issues is pivotal for the patient & cannot be treated with medicines alone.
Dental Care & Health Risk:
Toothache can be extremely weakening and is not advisable to postpone or manage the issue by taking pain killers. Considering the fact, the infection spreads beyond the tooth, the only alternative left at that point will be surgical intervention like apicoectomy and sometimes extraction.
While dentists are hit hard due to government guidelines, oral patients are at the receiving end. Not only is the complete treatment inaccessible, the expenses have also been additionally raised. Dental procedures are considered risky as these produce aerosols and droplets will get mixed with the patient’s saliva and hence,COVID-19 transmission can be quick. Consequently, the requirement for additional safety measures, which ups the expenses.
The dental issues which require priority care but do not cause risk are categorised as “urgent” and those increasing the patient’s risk are categorised as “emergency. As per the government guidelines, all the dental procedures can be performed in the dental facilities falling under “orange and green zones” while those in the red zones can provide only consultancy.
Government Guidelines for Safe Dental Care:
Saliva is rich in COVID-19 viral load. Many asymptomatic patients may be carriers.
Hence, patients undergoing dental procedures are at high risk of cross-infection as most of these proceedings require close contact with the patients’ oral cavity, saliva, blood, and respiratory tract secretions. The ministry has advised that all patients must be treated with due precautions like:
- Maintaining natural air circulation through frequent opening of windows.
- Using an independent exhaust blower.
- Using a table fan instead of a ceiling fan, behind the operator to let the airflow away from the doctor and the patient.
- Frequent servicing of air conditioners & cleaning of filters.
- Display of visual cautions at all the vital areas (waiting areas, elevators) about respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing, and disposal of contaminated items in trash cans.
- Availability of sufficient three-layer masks, sanitizers, and paper tissue at the clinics.
- Distant waiting chairs, preferably a meter apart.
- Patients should wear a mask & have no wristwatch or jewellery.
- Patients should use washrooms at home to avoid using toilets at the dental facility.
- Thermal screening of the patient & measurement of oxygen saturation at the entrance.
- Mouthwash with dilute hydrogen peroxide solution for the patient.
- Thorough cleaning and sanitization of the place, equipment and all the surfaces that were in contact with the patient, before attending another patient.
- The dental surgeon should wear goggles, face mask & PPE during any surgical procedures.
- For root canal treatment, proper isolation by using a ‘rubber dam’ to isolate the patient’s oral cavity from the external environment.
Home Remedies for A Toothache:
These are some easy-to-do hacks for toothache for those who are stuck at home and suffering:
- Saline water: Gargles with lukewarm saline water help reduce the pain.
- Clove oil: clove has pain-relieving and antibacterial properties. Put two drops on a cotton wool ball and set it on the affected tooth.
- Ice pack: Place an ice pack or some ice wrapped in a cloth over the affected area.
- Tea: Peppermint tea has a good numbing effect. Use a slightly warm and wet tea bag on the affected area.
If the problem persists for more than 2 days, it’s advisable to contact your dentist to understand the root cause of your toothache.
Things are probably not going to return to the ‘old’ typical soon. Rather, changes will happen in all areas of health care, driven by the need to limit the spread of disease. This may prompt the resumption of dental practices at the ‘new’ ordinary level, joined by changes in products, technologies, treatments, as well as healthcare systems. We need to adjust our lives as per the need of the hour but at the same time, avoid ignoring oral health as it is the window to overall health.
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