We are committed to providing families the safest possible environment for their dental care.
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Unlike many other offices that need to make several changes to adapt to the new CDC and ADA guidelines, we’ve already been using these industry-leading sterilization and safety protocols for over 30 years:
- Separate sterilization areas—one for preventative care and another for surgical and restorative care.
- Double sterilization in treatment rooms between patients (all surfaces and instruments are wiped down twice)
- HEPA filtration system
- Tools and equipment, like a rubber dam, have always been utilized to reduce airborne particles and droplets in the air
- Educating other dentists on best practices for sterilization
In addition to what we’ve always been practicing, we have elevated our best practices to exceed the recommended guidelines provided by the CDC and the American Dental Association (ADA) to ensure the safest environment and have added 2 high-velocity evacuation devices that will remove aerosols during treatment. We are continually researching other devices that will add additional safety measures.
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 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)
- Please wear a mask when you come in the building and at all times except when receiving dental treatment
- Patient’s temperature will be taken upon arrival
- You are invited to use our hand sanitizing station in the lobby
- Patients will be asked to do a pretreatment antiseptic mouth rinse.
As always, we are committed to protecting you and your family and offering 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.
We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors, and friends.
To make an appointment, please call our office at 440-238-6141 or visit https://aernidental.com/contact/.
How Do I Avoid COVID-19?
As there is no vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, avoiding being exposed to the virus is the only defense that’s available.
How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
Transmission of the virus tends to happen from one person to another. This typically occurs by way of respiratory droplets from speaking, sneezing, or coughing within 6′ of other people. These particles may come into the body through the mouth, eyes, or nose, and can also infect the lungs directly when inhaled.
Please keep in mind that people do not have to show symptoms to be contagious.
The virus can also be spread by coming into contact with surfaces where respiratory have landed and then touching your face afterward.
What can I do to protect myself?
The recommended ways to avoid exposure to the virus are as follows:
- Maintain a distance of six feet (6′) from others when in public.
- Wash your hands frequently. Make sure you are doing it the correct way.
- If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth without washing your hands beforehand.
- Be sure to use a mask when around others in public.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands as soon as possible.
- Be sure to disinfect and clean often.
What symptoms does COVID-19 have?
The symptoms of COVID-19 can be severe or mild. Make sure to check your temperature if you think you could have symptoms. Known symptoms of COVID-19 to look for are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle and/or body aches
- Sore throat
- Loss of sense of taste or smell
- Runny nose/congestion
- Vomiting or nausea
Who is most vulnerable?
Even though anyone can have dangerous complications from COVID-19, the people who are most vulnerable are people over 65 years old as well as those who have a preexisting condition, like:
- Heart disease
- People who are immunocompromised
- Individuals who are severely obese
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
What should I do should I think I’ve caught COVID-19?
Should you believe that you may have the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a self-checker and a website with recommended guidelines to follow.
Can the Health of Our Mouths Affect COVID-19?
As we’re currently going through the COVID-19 pandemic, many people prefer to keep from leaving their homes as much as they can. This often means avoiding any appointments they feel may not be necessary. Some people may be wondering, is it a good idea to postpone dental cleanings and checkups?
It turns out that the opposite may be true, according to a paper recently published in the British Dental Journal.
The links between the health of the mouth and the health of the rest of the body, typically called the oral-systemic connection, has been known by dentists for a long time now.
Victoria Sampson’s paper examines how many of COVID-19’s dangerous complications could be contributors to oral bacteria.
What are the complications that are connected with the coronavirus?
Serious COVID-19 complications are:
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Septic shock
- Blood clots
The complications shown above are more likely to cause death than the virus itself. COVID-19 is a virus, but these complications are actually caused by bacteria, and studies are revealing that 80% of patients in the ICU are shown to have high levels of harmful bacteria, necessitating treatment with antibiotics. When it comes to the severity of COVID-19 infections, these studies indicate that bacteria are an important factor.
How are COVID-19 complications linked to oral health?
The bacteria from our mouths are likely to make their way to the respiratory tract. Many of the same types of bacteria in periodontitis may worsen or cause health conditions such as sepsis and pneumonia.
This connection is where the need for good oral hygiene comes in. The transfer of bad bacteria between the mouth and lungs can be lessened through taking good care of your mouth. Some studies have revealed that improved oral health can lower the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia in patients in the ICU and also help stop bacterial superinfection.
Don’t avoid caring for your oral health!
While COVID-19 makes it a scary time for a dental visit, now is when you really need to make sure you are in the best oral health possible. Having good oral health is essential for your body overall, and may lower your chances of complications from COVID-19.
If you’re past due for a checkup or have a dental concern you’d like looked into, call Aerni Dental now to schedule your next appointment.
Can You Die From Gum Disease?
The link between oral health and the health of the entire body is not something to be ignored. Researchers have established many significant relationships between oral health and cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Respiratory conditions can be affected by types of bacteria found in the mouth as well.
In Germany, a 3-month study was undertaken that examined patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19. The researchers discovered that those with periodontal disease had a significantly greater chance of life-threatening respiratory failure than those without gum disease.
This respiratory condition is likely caused by interleukin (IL-6), which is a harmful protein that is produced by periodontal disease. Interleukin travels from the gum tissue down into 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.
Having a healthy mouth is more important than ever. Be certain you have your regular exam and cleaning scheduled and get in touch with us if you notice any of the symptoms of gum disease.
Links to be included where referenced above:
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.
CDC and ADA recommendations
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.