At Northeast Texas Periodontal Specialists, we have always practiced universal precautions and surpassed the recommendations of the CDC, the American Dental Association (ADA), and Texas Dental Association (TDA) guidelines.
In addition to what we’ve always been practicing, we will be taking these additional measures:
- We have removed the use of our waiting room in order to practice safe distancing and removed all toys, magazines, and brochures
- Our team will be wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face shields, N95/KN95 masks, shoe covers, full gowns, gloves and hair covers
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available for patient usage.
- We will be minimizing the back and forth of paper, so we are going to be requesting payment over the phone prior to your appointment to keep you and our team safe.
- We will be fogging the office approximately three times per day to provide additional disinfection and purification.
- We have added HEPA air filtration in each operatory and in the hallway
- A plexiglass shield has been installed at the front desk
- We will be doing hourly disinfection sweep throughout the office and between patients
- In all procedures where aerosol is present, you will see one or more of the following tools/equipment: high-velocity evacuation, extra-oral suction device, and/or Isodry to control aerosols during procedures.
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, please wait in your vehicle and check-in by phone. We will meet you at the door and escort you to your treatment room when it is ready for your entry.
- Patient’s temperature will be taken upon arrival
- If you don’t arrive wearing a mask, one will be given to you and you will be expected to wear it until the doctor or assistant ask you to remove it.
- No additional guests may attend the appointment with the patient (with the exception of parents of small children and those needing special assistance determined on a case-by-case basis)
- You are invited to use the hand sanitizer readily available throughout the office
- We prefer credit/debit card payment prior to your appointment to limit the paper exchange. If you chose to pay by check, we ask that you leave it in our while mailbox outside the office.
More Information on COVID-19
How Can I Avoid SARS-CoV-2?
Since there is no vaccine for COVID-19, preventing exposure to the virus is the only defense that’s available.
How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
Transmission of COVID-19 tends to happen between people. This ordinarily occurs by way of respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or speaking in close contact (within six feet) of other people. These droplets may come into the body through the mouth, eyes, or nose, and may also be directly inhaled into the lungs.
Please know that a person can be asymptomatic (have no symptoms) and still be contagious.
SARS-CoV-2 can also be caught by touching surfaces where respiratory have landed.
What can I do to defend myself?
The recommended ways to keep yourself safe from the virus are:
- Use social distancing. Be sure to maintain a distance of six feet from other people when in public spaces.
- You should wash your hands frequently. Ensure you are doing it the correct way.
- If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol.
- Try not to touch your mouth, eyes, or nose until you have washed your hands beforehand.
- Always wear a mask when around others in public.
- Make sure to cover your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough.
- Make sure to regularly disinfect surfaces.
How can I tell if I have COVID-19?
COVID-19 symptoms could be severe or mild. Check your temperature, should you believe you could have symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle and/or body aches
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense(s) of smell or taste
- Runny nose or congestion
Who is most vulnerable?
While anyone can have serious complications because of COVID-19, those who are most vulnerable are those over sixty-five years old or who have an underlying medical condition, like:
- Individuals who are immunocompromised
- Heart disease
- Lung disease or asthma
- Liver disease
- Individuals who are severely obese
- Chronic kidney disease
What should I do if I think I have the virus?
Can Complications of COVID-19 Be Prevented by My Periodontist?
During the current pandemic, many people prefer to keep from leaving their homes whenever possible. Some are even avoiding any unnecessary appointments. But is it wise to put off dental visits?
It turns out that the opposite may, in fact, be true, according to a paper recently published in the British Dental Journal.
The oral-systemic connection—the link between oral health and the wellbeing of the entire body—is something dentists have known for some time now.
Victoria Sampson’s paper examines the ways that many of COVID-19’s serious complications may be related to oral bacteria.
What are some of the serious complications that are connected with the coronavirus?
Some of the most frequent serious complications of COVID-19 are:
- Septic shock
- Blood clots
- ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)
The complications listed above are more likely to cause death than the virus itself. While COVID-19 is a virus, these complications are due to bacteria, and studies into the virus are revealing that eighty percent of COVID-19 ICU patients have high levels of harmful bacteria, necessitating treatment with antibiotics. Where the severity of COVID-19 infections is concerned, this information implies that bacteria play a big part.
In what ways is oral health connected to COVID-19 complications?
The bacteria from our mouths are likely to make their way into the respiratory tract. The same types of bacteria found in gum disease may cause or worsen problems like sepsis or pneumonia.
This connection is where good oral health and proper oral hygiene come in. Good oral hygiene can lessen the movement of harmful types of bacteria between the mouth and lungs. There are studies that have found that improved oral health can lower the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients, as well as help, prevent bacterial superinfection.
Don’t stop taking care of your oral health!
While it may be a scary time to visit the dentist or periodontist, this is the time to ensure you’re in the best oral health you can. A healthy mouth is good for your body overall and may lessen your risk of COVID-19 complications. This is especially true when it comes to those who have gum disease.
If you are overdue for a perio maintenance appointment or are concerned about the health of your gums, get in touch with us to schedule an appointment.
COVID-19 & Gum Disease Could Be Deadly
The connection between oral health and the overall health of the body should not be ignored. Major connections have been uncovered between oral health and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Bacteria that are found in the mouth can affect respiratory conditions, too.
A three-month study was undertaken in Germany that followed patients hospitalized with COVID-19. They uncovered that those with gum disease (periodontitis) had a much higher risk of dying from respiratory failure.
This respiratory condition is likely caused by interleukin (IL-6), a harmful protein that is produced by periodontal disease. Interleukin makes its way from the gum tissue into the lungs, causing severe respiratory issues.
Founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal, Shervin Molayem, DDS, explained: “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.”
He 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 the results of the study in The Mouth-COVID Connection from the California Dental Association.
Now, with COVID-19, having a healthy mouth and gums is crucial. Be sure you are brushing and flossing regularly, keep an eye out for the signs of gum disease, and if you are due for a periodontal maintenance appointment, contact us to get it scheduled.