Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
We take pride in the fact that our safety and infection control protocols have always surpassed the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the CDC.
Patient and team safety is our utmost top priority. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, new strategies are in place within our office that will continue our legacy of safety:
- We have arranged the waiting room in order to practice safe distancing and removed all children’s toys, magazines, and brochures that are not easy to regularly sanitize.
- We have installed a plexiglass shield at the front desk for additional protection of patients and staff.
- The office is equipped with units that will help with disinfection and purification.
- You will notice hand sanitizer readily available for patient usage.
- For treatments, you may see more use of a high-velocity suction device that removes aerosols.
As always, we will provide you with the highest possible quality of care. Our protocols with sterilization and disinfection will provide a safe environment for not only our patients but for our team as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
When it is time for your next appointment, you may see some additional changes for patient and staff safety, along with our already strict infection control protocols:
- We will call with a COVID pre-screening questionnaire 48-72 hours prior to your appointment, which will be given again upon arrival at your appointment
- When arriving for your appointment, you may wait in your vehicle and check-in by phone. We will let you know if your treatment room is ready for your entry.
- No additional guests may attend the appointment with the patient (with the exception of those needing special assistance determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Patient’s temperature will be taken upon arrival
- You are invited to use the hand sanitizer readily available throughout the office
To make an appointment, please call our office at 419-435-6700 or click here to request an appointment online.
Thank you for entrusting us with your oral health.
Parents in the Operatory
We recognize that our policies may differ from parental expectations.
By allowing your child to enter the operatory without you, you are placing trust in your dental professionals and teaching your child to do the same.
Our dental staff is experienced and trained to provide your child with a safe and comfortable visit!
Additional COVID-19 Information
What Can Be Done to Avoid SARS-CoV-2?
As there is no vaccine at this time for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, avoiding being exposed to the virus is the only protection available.
How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
Coronavirus transmission tends to happen from one person to another. This ordinarily happens through respiratory droplets from talking, sneezing, or coughing while within 6′ of the other person. These aerosolized droplets can come into the body by way of the nose, mouth, or eyes, and may also cause infection when inhaled directly into the lungs.
Please remember that a person can still be contagious without actually having any symptoms.
The novel coronavirus can also be transmitted from coming into contact with surfaces where respiratory droplets have landed and touching your face afterward.
How can I defend myself against this virus?
Here are the recommended ways to prevent exposure to the virus:
- Use social distancing. Be sure to maintain a distance of six feet from other people while in public places.
- Wash your hands frequently. There is a proper way to do it. Make sure you know what it is.
- If you do not have access to soap, use a hand sanitizer containing at least sixty percent alcohol.
- Try to avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose without washing your hands first.
- Wear a mask when in public.
- Make sure to cover your mouth in the event that you sneeze or cough.
- Surfaces in your home should be disinfected often.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The symptoms of COVID-19 could be severe or mild. Check your temperature, should you believe you could have the symptoms of COVID-19. The symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches/body aches
- Loss of sense(s) of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and/or nausea
- Runny nose and/or congestion
Which people are most vulnerable?
While COVID-19 infection might result in severe complications for anyone, those who are most at risk are those over sixty-five years old or who have a preexisting medical condition, like:
- Asthma or lung disease
- A heart condition
- Individuals who have immunodeficiencies
- Severe obesity
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
In the event I get sick, what should I do?
Is It a Bad Idea to See the Dentist During the Pandemic?
While we deal with the current pandemic, quite a few people prefer to stay home as much as they can and are avoiding any potentially unnecessary appointments. You may be wondering, is it a good idea to put off dental checkups and cleanings?
The opposite may be true, according to a paper published recently in the British Dental Journal.
Dentists have known for a long while now about the links between the health of the mouth and the wellbeing of the entire body. In Victoria Sampson’s paper, she looks into the ways that many of the virus’s serious complications may be tied to oral bacteria.
What complications are connected with COVID-19?
These dangerous complications include:
- Septic shock
- Blood clots
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
The complications of the virus are more likely to result in death than the virus itself. While COVID-19 is a virus, these complications are actually caused by bacterial infection. Studies are showing that eighty percent of patients in the ICU are being found to have elevated levels of harmful bacteria, necessitating treatment with antibiotics. This information indicates that bacteria play a big part when it comes to the severity of COVID-19 infections.
In what ways are COVID-19 complications linked to oral health?
Oral bacteria are likely to find their way into the respiratory tract. Many of the same varieties of bacteria in periodontitis can worsen or cause conditions like pneumonia or sepsis.
This is where good oral health and proper oral hygiene come in. The transfer of bad types of bacteria between the lungs and mouth can be lessened through taking good care of your mouth. Some studies have found that better oral health may lower the possibility of ventilator-associated pneumonia in patients in the ICU and also help prevent the risk of bacterial superinfection.
Don’t postpone maintaining your oral health!
While it may be a scary time to visit the dentist, now is the time to ensure that you have the best oral health that you can. Good oral health can reduce your chances of complications from COVID-19, and is good for the health of your body.
Whether you have an oral issue you’d like looked into, or you are past due for a dental visit, contact us now to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sulken or Dr. Kinn.
Elevated Chance of Dying With COVID and Periodontal Disease
The connection between oral health and the health of the body is not something to be overlooked. Many strong links have been found between the health of the mouth and cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Bacteria found in the mouth can impact respiratory ailments, too.
In Germany, a study was undertaken that looked into patients that had been hospitalized with COVID-19. The study uncovered that those with gum disease had a substantially elevated chance of life-threatening respiratory failure.
This dangerous condition is assumed to be caused by IL-6 (interleukin) which is a harmful protein produced by gum disease. Interleukin makes its way from the gums to the lungs where it causes severe respiratory issues.
According to founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal, Shervin Molayem, DDS, “Gum disease has been linked to other breathing ailments, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so we weren’t surprised to find a link to respiratory problems with COVID-19.”
Molayem continued with, “what shocked us was the discovery of the protein’s devastating, life-threatening impact on patients once they’re hospitalized. One tiny, inflammatory protein robbed them of their ability to breathe.”
You can learn more about these findings in The Mouth-COVID Connection from the California Dental Association.
Now, with COVID-19, having good oral health is crucial. Make certain you have your six-month checkup scheduled and contact us if you spot any of the symptoms of periodontal disease.
UPDATE for April 2021:
More research has been done on this topic, including a study published in the European Federation of Periodontology’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
The team performing the study in Qatar looked at 568 patients who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 between February and July of 2020. Of the patients in the study, 40 had suffered complications, which consisted of being put in intensive care, placed on a ventilator, or dying. The study looked at a number of factors for their connection with COVID-19, including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, body mass index, blood pressure, smoking, and others.
The study found that COVID-19 patients who were suffering from periodontal disease were nearly nine (8.81) times more likely to die than those without.
COVID patients with gum disease were 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator and were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care.
Those with periodontal disease were more likely to develop COVID-19 complications (around 12.8%) than those without (about 2.3%).
One of the study’s co-authors, Professor Lior Shapira of the Hebrew University, said, “The results of the study suggest that the inflammation in the oral cavity may open the door to the coronavirus becoming more violent. Oral care should be part of the health recommendations to reduce the risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes.”
ADA Finds That Less Than 1% of Dentists Have Tested Positive for COVID
Patients concerned about visiting the dentist during the pandemic may find some reassurance in learning that the ADA has found that fewer than 1% of dentists have tested positive for COVID-19.
In the first large-scale collection of infection rates and infection control practices in the US, the ADA Science and Research Institute and Health Policy Institute in Chicago found that the methods recommended by the CDC and the ADA to keep patients and dental teams safe are working.
This data was collected from every state in the USA as well as Puerto Rico, and the ongoing survey is now working with the American Dental Hygienists Association to include dental hygienists in future updates.
In addition to ADA and CDC recommendations, most dental offices are going above and beyond when it comes to PPE, screening procedures, sterilization, and minimizing aerosols. Thanks to this dedication to safety, the ADA states that the rate of infection for dentists are far below those for other medical professionals.
The vice president of the ADA Health Policy Institute, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., stated: “The profession has taken this issue extremely seriously, and it shows. We will continue to track the rate of COVID-19 among dentists and other facets of the pandemic affecting dentistry so it can help inform the dental profession and other industries as well.”
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is a concern all of us share, but, fortunately, with the safety protocols currently in place, patients should feel safer at dental visits than most other activities they may take during the pandemic.
Are COVID-19 Lockdowns Leading to More Orofacial Pain?
The pandemic has resulted in a stressful time for everyone in the world, and, for many people, this stress can result in orofacial pain.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine took a look at patients in two countries and examined how the stress of COVID-19 lockdowns may have caused an increase in jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding, and orofacial pain.
Some of the findings from the study by the University of Wroclaw and Tel Aviv University were:
- 12% increase in orofacial pain symptoms
- 15% increase in jaw-clenching
- 26% increase in teeth grinding
- For those who were already suffering from orofacial pain, there was a 15% increase in severity
- Women were more affected by these increases than men
- Patients in the age range of 35-55 were the most affected
Whether due to concerns over the virus, financial issues, isolation during quarantine, or other situations resulting from the lockdowns, it’s evident that problems such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and temporomandibular disorders are increasing during these stressful times.
For those suffering from these issues—including head, neck, and jaw pain, tension headaches, earaches, tooth sensitivity in the absence of a dental problem—help is available. Depending on the specific nature of the problem, these can be relieved with night guards, bite splints, or bite adjustments.
If you believe you are one of the people suffering from pain as a result of this type of stress, get in touch with our office to take your first step toward finding relief.
Can Mouthwashes Fight the Spread of COVID-19?
While not directly testing against the COVID-19 virus, researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine looked at a number of products and their effectiveness against coronaviruses which are similar to COVID-19. Among the products in the study were antiseptic rinses and mouthwashes. The study attempted to see if the coronaviruses could be inactivated by these products in a laboratory setting.
From the results of their study, the researchers found some of the products showed promise in fighting coronaviruses, and suggest that using them may save to help reduce the amount of virus spread by those who are COVID-19 positive.
The researchers also looked at nasal products, as the oral and nasal cavities are both primary ways that that SARS-CoV-2 enters the body and is transmitted to others.
During the study, the researchers exposed a type of coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 to the different solutions for time periods of half a minute, one minute, and two minutes. The mixture was then diluted and exposed to cultured human cells. Researchers then waited a few days before counting how many of the cells remained alive after being exposed to the viral solution.
Many of the mouthwashes tested inactivated more than 99.9% of the viruses after only 30 seconds.
Further studies are needed, of course, but the head of the study, Craig Meyers, MS, Ph.D., suggests these products may be helpful for those who have caught the virus and are attempting to quarantine themselves while living with others.
“People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with,” Meyers says. “Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of virus COVID-positive patients or those with high-risk occupations may spread while talking, coughing, or sneezing. Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50%, it would have a major impact.”
For those interested in learning more, the study was published in the Journal of Medical Virology.
COVID-19 and Other Outbreaks
As of November of 2020, there have been more than 56 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide. While 39 million of those have recovered, the virus has claimed the lives of over 1.3 million people, with many cases still active.
While an outbreak of this size and severity is a new experience for most of us, it is hardly unique. Many such outbreaks have happened throughout history, and without the benefit of modern medicine, they have resulted in far higher death tolls than COVID-19.
To put it in perspective, here are some of the outbreaks that past generations have gone through.
There are records of what is believed to have been Smallpox as far back as 300 BC in ancient Egypt. The disease is believed to have killed three out of every ten people who contracted it, and it has persisted all the way to the modern era. It wasn’t until 1980 that vaccination efforts managed to eradicate the virus worldwide.
Known as the Black Death, the Bubonic plague first appeared in Europe and Asia in the mid-1330s and continued on until the early 1350s. The US had an epidemic in Los Angeles as recently as 1924. While antibiotics are available to treat the disease when caught early, the disease is still present, with around 1,000-3,000 cases annually around the world. The bubonic plague is believed to have killed more than 20 million people in Europe alone.
Believed to have been around since the 4th century BC, the first known Cholera pandemic began in India in 1817, with a second occurring in 1829. This second outbreak became a pandemic, spreading through Europe, and North America. There were multiple Cholera pandemics between the years of 1852 and 1923, and outbreaks continue even today, with approximately 2.9 million cases and 95,000 deaths annually across the world. The spread of Cholera can be prevented with proper sanitation and clean drinking water.
The Spanish Flu
Caused a type of H1N1 flu virus, the Spanish Flu was first identified in the US in 1918. The spread of the virus was likely expedited by troop movements during World War I, with the virus infecting 500 million people across the world. More than 50 million people died from this variant of the flu. The pandemic was eventually stopped through quarantine, disinfectants, and improvements in personal hygiene.
Spread by a parasite carried by mosquitos, malaria has likely existed since the Stone Age and is still around today. Most cases are now in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as a program started by the World Health Organization in 1955 helped to eliminate the disease in many parts of the world. Currently, there are about 2,000 cases of malaria diagnosed in the world annually.
Fortunately for us, research on COVID-19 has progressed quickly and promising vaccines are already in development. In the meantime, practices like ours are using modern medical knowledge to help prevent the spread of infection through safety protocols that keep both our dental team and our patients safe.