As mentioned in the previous article, the governor of New York ordered all dental practices to close their doors during the third week of March, for all but emergency care. We were permitted to reopen on June 1st.
Hopefully, if we are instructed to close again, we will be able to reopen earlier than expected. This could be for several reasons:
1) Back in June, The State Dental Society was able to convince the governor that dentists are, and have been, experts at protecting their patients from the spread of all manner of diseases, and using personal protective equipment is and has always been an integral part of this program.
2) We know that small dental problems can quickly become big and expensive dental problems. We also know that hospital emergency rooms are ill-equipped to handle dental problems (and who wants to go to a hospital emergency room during this pandemic?).
3) There is also mounting evidence that the bacteria that accumulate around the teeth and gums can get into our bloodstream and cause inflammation and damage in other parts of our body, especially the heart and blood vessels.
Because most dentists closed their offices in early to mid-March, many patients went without their regular supportive periodontal maintenance for 6 to 8 months. Most adults over the age of 35 to 40 need regular cleaning visits approximately four times per year. Longer than that and the body's defenses become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of bacteria, which is how problems can start both in the mouth and potentially in other areas of the body. Even with good daily oral hygiene, the bacteria find a way to grow. Remember, they have been on this planet for possibly millions of years (much longer than humans), and they are very good at what they do. So regular professional cleanings are essential to maintain excellent oral health and support your homecare efforts.
Because many patients being unable to have cleanings, when they came in, their mouths were loaded with excess plaque and tartar. We are happy to help get patients back to the good periodontal health they enjoyed before the shutdown in March.
One other thing to consider if you are reluctant to schedule, if we have to close again, for some it will be close to a year since they had their last maintenance visit. That will almost certainly cause harm to your periodontal health and possibly your overall health as well.