Although the World Health Organization (WHO) recently advised patients to skip their next visit to the dentist, the American Dental Association (ADA) “respectfully yet strongly disagrees” with the WHO’s recent guidelines to delay routine dental care. At StarImage Dentistry, we also strongly disagree with the WHO. Our dental office practices strict safety precautions to prevent COVID-19 from spreading which we will go into further detail throughout the blog. Oral health is essential for overall health and if patients continue to delay routine dental visits, they might put their health in jeopardy. Learn more about why you shouldn’t skip your routine dental cleaning and how we’re keeping our office safe.
Dr. Green doing a procedure in his Wichita Falls dental office

What Happens When I Skip the Dentist?

Before we dive into ways we’re keeping our staff and patients safe, it’s important to understand the critical role oral health plays on your overall health. The purpose of routine dental appointments/services/general-dentistry’}}}} is to prevent dental problems from occurring and to treat existing problems in their earliest stages before they can progress.

One of the procedures we conduct for every patient during their routine visit is a dental cleaning. During your dental cleaning, we remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and along the gum line. Without removing plaque and tartar from the teeth, cavities and gum disease can form.

If we’re not there to catch a cavity, gum disease, or infection early, it can progress and have detrimental effects like tooth loss.

How Poor Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

Skipping the dentist won’t just result in potential cavities and gum disease, but overall health effects. For instance, skipping the dentist can result in:

  • Oral Cancer – When you visit us for a cleaning, we also look for red, swollen, ulcerated areas in your mouth that look out of the ordinary that might indicate oral cancer. We also use VELscope to detect oral cancer.
  • Diabetes – The condition of your gums and teeth might signify diabetes. This is especially important for patients who don’t regularly visit their physicians.
  • Heart Disease – Chronic infections such as gum disease or infected teeth increase the body’s risk of heart disease and heart problems including heart attack and stroke.
  • Weakened Immune System – If you have an infection in your mouth, your immune system is already working overtime to try and ward off that infection. If your body needs to fight off another illness (like COVID-19) it will have a much harder time. It’s also important to note that an infection in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and move throughout your body.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies – Sometimes the appearance of your tongue and gums can indicate certain nutritional deficiencies.

If you want to take care of your overall health, you can’t skip routine visits to the dentist. There’s no telling how long the pandemic will last. It’s best to keep your overall health as healthy as possible to prevent more problems from occurring.

How We’re Keeping Our Dental Office Safe

Our dental office is committed to the health of our staff and patients. Our dental office uses infection control recommendations made by the ADA, CDC, and OSHA. To help keep patients and staff safe, our staff are wearing the necessary PPE gear. We’re also keeping the area sanitized in each exam room with special ventilators that disinfect the air with a unique filtration system. We’re also using UV lights to sanitize the rooms after each patient leaves. Before appointments, we’re also asking patients a few screening questions to ensure they have not been exposed or will expose anyone. We will bring patients directly to their exam room so there is no waiting in the waiting area and social distancing can remain in effect. Patients can also opt for a virtual consultation if they would prefer to minimize the time spent in our dental office.

Our complete infection control processes include:

  • Screening questions
  • Hand sanitizer throughout the office
  • No magazines in the waiting room
  • Appointments managed to allow for social distancing
  • Patients waiting for their appointment in their car
  • Hospital grade sterilization and sanitation protocols
  • Doctors and staff wearing additional PPE
  • Additional deep office cleanings
  • Daily temperature checks for team members
  • Temperature checks for patients
  • UV light air filters in the HVAC system
  • Multi-stage air filters to purify the air

Our patient’s comfort and safety have always been the number one priority for us. We highly encourage you to schedule your next dental appointment at our safe and sanitized dental office in Wichita Falls today. Please call 940-322-2252 to schedule your next appointment or to learn more about our sanitary precautions.