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Take Extra Care of Children’s Teeth During Quarantine

Posted by Taylor Schachter on Jun 24 2020, 10:42 PM

Take Extra Care of Children’s Teeth During Quarantine

With many dental clinics around the world closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients must hold off on routine dental care such as checkups and cleanings. While some emergency clinics and general practices are open on a case-by-case basis, patients still may face delays in receiving care unless it is emergency care. For adults, this is not so problematic, as we know when something doesn’t feel right and can advocate for ourselves when we need to be seen by a dentist. But for the millions of children in the United States who must postpone their dental appointments, these closures could spell trouble.

Dr. Martin Abelar is a dentist practicing in San Diego, California. He says there are steps parents can take to reduce the risk of their children needing emergency dental care during the pandemic and quarantine.

"We all know kids can play pretty rough at times," says Abelar, "and many of them are probably pretty bored right now, but it’s very important to keep that roughhousing to a minimum for the sake of their teeth."

According to Abelar, many children chip or crack their teeth each year, but it’s not usually that big of a deal thanks to easily accessible dental clinics. With widespread clinic closures, however, it becomes a much bigger concern.

"Chipped teeth aren’t just aesthetically problematic - they can be sharp and jagged, or they can become infected if not treated immediately," Abelar says. For that reason, Abelar recommends parents act swiftly if their child breaks a tooth.

"Call your regular dentist first and see if there’s anyone answering the phones. Your dentist can either make an emergency appointment or refer you to an emergency clinic in your area," he says.

As for regular cleanings that may reveal cavities and other problems, Abelar says to be patient, but diligent.

"Use the time in quarantine to help educate your kids about their oral health," he says. "Encourage them to brush and floss more frequently. This can help stave off or slow the growth of any cavities that may already be lurking in the mouth."

Abelar also recommends paying attention to your dentist’s website to be aware of reopenings, and to schedule or reschedule appointments as soon as the clinic reopens.

"Remember, the longer dental problems go untreated, the worse they can get," he says. "Whether your child missed his or her appointment, you think your child may need an urgent appointment, or it’s just time to schedule your child’s regular appointment, don’t put it off."

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