Should you go to the dentist during Coronavirus scare?

Seeing the dentist during coronavirus epidemic
By: Dr. Mitchell Josephs
Yes, if it is essential! Palm Beach Dentist Dr. Mitchell Josephs Explains Difference Between Elective and Essential Dental Procedures

Governor DeSantis recently said doctors “are prohibited from providing any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery which, if delayed, does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety, or well-being at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of serious or life threatening medical condition.”

Dr. Mitchell Josephs, a Palm Beach based dentist, agrees and is hoping to explain to patients what the difference is between elective and essential dental work. With many other dentist offices closing, he has opened up his office for 24/7 emergency dental needs.

Dr. Josephs has shared the following FAQs:
What is considered elective dental care?

Teeth bleaching/whitening. Most orthodontics, but not all cases, replacing silver fillings with white fillings for the sake of esthetics, replacing FRONT tooth, functional crowns with new ones for esthetics and replacing FRONT teeth with implants for esthetic purposes.

Is a teeth cleaning elective?

No. Dental visits with hygienists are not elective. Bacterial biofilm full of infections of pathogens is a therapeutic periodontal treatment that if delayed, again, leads to a negative effect for the “patient’s well being.”

Is a knocked-out tooth an emergency?

A knocked-out tooth is a dental emergency that requires urgent attention. If the appropriate emergency steps are followed immediately after the tooth has been knocked out, the chances are very good that the tooth can be reinserted and preserved by a dentist.

What about a cracked or fractured tooth?

A cracked or fractured tooth is a serious issue constituting a dental emergency. Fractured or cracked teeth usually suggest that damage has occurred to the inside of the tooth as well as to the outside. Severe fractures are so extreme that the tooth cannot be saved. If you suffer a fractured tooth, call your dentist immediately for an emergency appointment.

What happens if I delay my filling for a few months?

If left untreated, patients can suffer from pain, swelling and will embark on more extensive and expensive dental procedures such as root canals, extractions, bone grafts and implants. Ignoring treatment of non-painful disease can result in a hospital admission due to abscesses spreading into head and neck spaces, called cellulitis and, the life threatening, Ludwig’s Angina.

What is considered a dental emergency?

Basically, any dental problem that requires immediate treatment in order to save a tooth, stop ongoing tissue bleeding or alleviate severe pain is considered a dental emergency. A severe infection or abscess in the mouth can be life-threatening and should be dealt with immediately.

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