Patients Resorting to Drastic Oral Health Measures in Quarantine
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 20 2020, 11:18 AM
The global COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of people around the world on mandatory and self-imposed quarantine. Unfortunately, while this is keeping people safe and slowing the spread of the coronavirus, business closures are causing some Americans to take drastic measures to get the services they need.
Recently, the New York Post ran an article about people taking their oral health into their own hands- a move that dentists like Dr. Martin Abelar of San Diego, California are cautioning against.
The article featured a man from the United Kingdom, who when faced with a painful infected tooth, went to the internet for a solution. After calling around and not locating an open dental practice, the man turned to Youtube and extracted the infected tooth himself!
"This is a very dangerous idea, no matter how much pain you’re currently in," cautions Abelar.
Though the story had a happy ending and the man was able to alleviate some pain, Abelar warns that procedures like this carry a severe risk with them.
"Well for starters, you could accidentally break the tooth trying to remove it," he says. "This could result in having a sharp, jagged piece of the tooth remain, and not being able to alleviate the original source of pain, either."
Another danger of pulling your own teeth? Unsanitary equipment.
"Without proper sanitization, you could be opening yourself up to the risk of infection," says Abelar.
That infection can make a bad situation even worse, causing the periodontal disease which can cause problems for the heart, among other things.
"A secondary infection could even be fatal," says Abelar. "And with the current epidemic, we all need our immune systems to be strong and healthy."
Abelar says if you have an oral health issue to first try your dentist, even if the office is closed
"Most clinics have an answering service who can get your call to your dentist," says Abelar. "Once you get in touch with your dentist he or she can point you in the direction of an open clinic, or schedule you for an emergency appointment."
Abelar says patients experiencing pain should try over the counter pain medication and topical analgesics in the meantime.
"They may not be a perfect solution, but they are better than the alternative, which could cause a lot more damage than the current situation your tooth is facing."
According to Abelar, patients can also reduce their risk of dental emergencies while in quarantine by sticking to softer foods, brushing frequently, and avoiding highly sweetened or acidic foods.