Here at TLC Dental Care, we have always practiced the highest level of infection-control to ensure the safest treatment environment for our valued patients and team members.
Our passion is protecting you, our patients, and our staff. Being part of an elite group of dental offices on the Tom Terry Client Honor Roll, we have established a level of excellence in patient safety that is far above regulatory requirements.
In addition to what we’ve always been practicing, we have elevated our best practices to exceed the recommended guidelines provided by the CDC, OSHA, the American Dental Association (ADA), and the California Dental Association (CDA) to ensure the safest environment in response to COVID-19.
- We will utilize our high-velocity evacuation device to reduce aerosols as we have in the past and have added a second unit for our other room.
- Every hour, our team will complete a “disinfectant sweep” by disinfecting all door handles, desk areas, and bathrooms with sanitizing wipes.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the office.
- Staff temperatures will be taken daily along with a COVID screening questionnaire
- All team members will be equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect both patients and our team (KN95 masks and shields)
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:
- Patient appointment times will be adjusted to minimize people arriving and departing at the same time. We will limit the number of people allowed in the reception room to maintain social distancing.
- 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
- As much as we enjoy spending time with our patients during their dental visit, we ask that you respect social distancing requirements by avoiding contact with others, such as hand-shaking, hugging, touching, or sharing non-treatment related items.
- We ask that patients do not bring any outside food or drink items into the practice.
- For better control of contact areas, all treatment plan presentations and future scheduling will be completed while the patient is seated in the treatment area.
As always, we will provide you with the highest possible quality of care. Our protocols for 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.
Additional Information about COVID-19
How Does Someone Stay Safe From COVID-19?
Since there is no vaccine for COVID-19, avoiding exposure to the virus is the only protection that’s available.
How does the virus spread?
Coronavirus transmission tends to happen from one person to another. This usually happens through respiratory droplets from coughing, talking, or sneezing within 6′ of other people. These respiratory particles can enter by way of the nose, eyes, or mouth, and may also be directly inhaled into the lungs.
It is important to know that a person can be contagious while being without symptoms.
SARS-CoV-2 can also be transmitted by coming into contact with any surfaces where these droplets have landed and then touching your face.
How can I defend myself?
Here are the recommended ways to prevent being exposed to COVID-19:
- Maintain a distance of 6′ from other people while in public.
- You should wash your hands frequently. Make sure you are doing it correctly.
- Use hand sanitizer if soap is not available. It should contain at least 60% alcohol.
- Try not to touch your nose, eyes, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- Always wear a mask or cloth covering when in public.
- Always cover your mouth in the event that you sneeze or cough.
- Be sure to regularly disinfect surfaces.
How can someone tell if they have COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can be severe or mild. Be sure to check your temperature in the case that you suspect you might have symptoms of COVID-19. Common COVID-19 symptoms to be aware of include:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Congestion and/or runny nose
What people are at the most risk from COVID-19?
Even though COVID-19 infection might result in serious complications for anyone, the ones who are in the most danger are people over sixty-five years old as well as those who have underlying conditions, like:
- Heart disease
- People who are immunocompromised
- Kidney disease
- Disease of the liver
- Individuals who are severely obese
Should I get sick, what should I do?
How Does Mouth Health Affect COVID-19 Complications?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many who prefer to remain home as much as they can and who choose to avoid any appointments that they feel are unnecessary. Considering that, is it wise to postpone dental appointments due to COVID-19?
The opposite may, in fact, be true, according to a paper published recently in the British Dental Journal.
Dentists have known for a long time about the way that oral health is connected to the overall wellbeing of the body.
In Victoria Sampson’s paper, she examines the ways that oral bacteria might be connected to many of COVID-19’s more serious complications.
What complications are related to the coronavirus?
The most typical, serious complications of the virus are:
- Septic shock
- Blood clots
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
The complications above are more likely to result in death than the virus itself. COVID-19 is a virus, but these complications are actually the result of bacteria. Studies are showing that 80% of ICU patients are being found to have elevated levels of harmful bacteria, necessitating treatment with antibiotics. This information indicates that bacteria are a large factor when it comes to the severity of COVID-19 infections.
How are COVID-19 complications linked to oral health?
The bacteria in the mouth are likely to find their way to the respiratory tract. The same kinds of bacteria that are found in periodontitis can worsen or cause problems like pneumonia and sepsis.
This connection is where oral health and hygiene come in. The exchanges of bad bacteria between the lungs and mouth can be lessened with good oral hygiene. Some studies have discovered that better oral health may lower the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients and help stop bacterial superinfection.
Don’t put off visiting the dentist!
While it may be a scary time to visit the dentist, right now is the best time to ensure you have the best oral health you can. Good oral health is good for your overall health and may lower your risk of COVID-19-related complications.
Whether you have a dental concern you’d like checked out, or you are overdue for a checkup, contact TLC Dental Care now to schedule an appointment.
Can You Die From Periodontitis?
The link between oral health and the overall health of the body should not be ignored. Researchers have found many significant connections between oral health and cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Respiratory conditions can also be influenced by types of bacteria found in the mouth.
A three-month study was undertaken in Germany that followed patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19. The study discovered that patients who had gum disease had a substantially elevated risk of life-threatening respiratory failure than those with healthy mouths.
This dangerous condition is likely caused by interleukin (IL-6) which is a harmful protein produced by periodontitis. IL-6 spreads from the gums to the lungs where it may cause severe respiratory problems.
According to the 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.”
He continued to say, “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.”
The California Dental Association has released an article called The Mouth-COVID Connection where you can learn more about these findings.
Having a healthy mouth and gums is more important than ever before. Contact us if you find you have any of the signs of periodontal disease and make certain you have your regular dental exam scheduled.
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.
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.