We are now being allowed to transition into performing non-urgent dental procedures in addition to the emergency dental care that we have been able to offer. CDC, Board of Health, and Board of Dental Examiners guidelines will dictate new protocols for office preparation, patient interaction, and personal protective equipment. Over the next few weeks our office will carefully phase into addressing more of the dental needs of our patients. If you would like to make an appointment for needed dental care please call our office at 251-639-1853 and we will advise you of the changes that are required for your next dental visit. Please let us know if you have been sick, have a fever, have tested positive for Covid-19, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19. We will modify our procedures as changes are made to CDC guidelines and we will, as always, take whatever measures we can to protect the health of our patients and our staff.
As this pandemic continues to move across our country we are still being directed to only provide urgent dental care. We will continue to monitor this situation and make preparations to return to providing non-urgent care when we are advised by the authorities. When we are able to return we want to assure you that we will take steps to provide care in a safe environment for both our patients and our staff.
IN RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION FROM THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, THE ALABAMA DENTAL ASSOCIATION, THE BOARD OF DENTAL EXAMINERS OF ALABAMA, THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION, AND UAB SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY, WE ARE POSTPONING ALL NON-URGENT DENTAL PROCEDURES IN OUR OFFICE.
iF YOU ARE A PATIENT OF RECORD IN OUR OFFICE AND HAVE AN URGENT DENTAL EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL US FIRST AND WE WILL ASSESS YOUR PROBLEM. WE WILL THEN ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT FOR YOU IF INDICATED.
AS SOON AS WE ARE ADVISED TO BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES, WE WILL RESUME MAKING APPOINTMENTS FOR ELECTIVE PROCEDURES.
For the safety of our dental care team, and other patients, we ask that you call our office prior to coming in for your appointment if you have a fever, cough, traveled outside of the country recently, or been in close proximity with an individual that has received a positive test result for the coronavirus. Otherwise, all healthy individuals should continue their normal routine, including keeping their upcoming dental appointments.
The American Dental Association has guidelines for frequency of Dental Radiographs (Xrays).
The decision to take xrays should be made by the Dentist based on the individual patient's needs. Some patients without a history of Dental Caries may have xrays as infrequently as every 3 years.
In May of 1988 I wrote a series of articles for the Mobile Press Register concerning causes and treatment for Jaw Disorders. Many of the treatment options discussed are still used today. Conservative therapy is usually effective and surgery is rarely needed to resolve most of these conditions. The first article discusses the causes and the second covers treatment options. I have scanned the articles and posted them on this blog as a reference.
Dental care is often put off because of concerns about the cost. Many people delay having preventive care or treating dental conditions until they can obtain Dental Insurance. The reality is that good Dental Care can be affordable with or without Dental Insurance. Dental Insurance premiums in many cases exceed the amount of dollar benefits that are actually spent by the Insurance Company on dental services. If your employer offers Dental Insurance as a tax exempt benefit it can certainly help offset some of the expenses of dental care especially preventive care. Purchasing individual Dental Insurance with your earned after tax dollars can often cost more than the actual benefits received and can also restrict your access to a limited number of Dentists.
Having your teeth examined regularly can enable you to prevent and treat dental problems early at a significant decrease in cost. Even if you have put off Dental Treatment for a long time and you suspect that you need a lot of care, it is important to have this seen and evaluated by a Dentist. You may be surprised to learn that there may be some affordable options to treat your problems. Speak to your Dentist about your concerns about cost. Often there are conservative alternatives to treating your immediate needs allowing time for you to phase in more extensive treatment over time while alleviating your immediate pain and cosmetic concerns. Expensive Crowns can sometimes be avoided by using less expensive esthetic bonded fillings. Early dental caries can often be arrested, eliminating the need for fillings.
If you have already been to a Dentist and have been told you need a lot of expensive care it may be in your best interest to seek a second opinion from another Dentist. You may find another Dentist who can offer you some conservative cost effective ways to handle your Dental needs.
There are a number of studies that have revealed an association between Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) and Heart Disease. A direct cause and effect has not been proven but there are indications from research that Periodontal Disease increases the risk of Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Diabetes and other health problems.
Studies show that half of all Americans and 70% over the age of 65 have Periodontal Disease. Risk factors include: Genetics (some people are more susceptible), Age, Smoking, Stress, Medications, Clenching or Grinding your teeth, other Systemic Disease, Obesity, and Poor Nutrition.
Periodontal Disease is a disease of supporting structures of the teeth which can lead to infection, loss of bone and eventual tooth loss.
Periodontal Disease can only be diagnosed by a Dentist or Dental Hygienist. In our office we perform a periodontal evaluation during your Dental Examination when you have your teeth cleaned which includes probing your gums for signs of periodontal disease.
The good news is that Periodontal Disease can be treated and prevented but it is important that you have your teeth cleaned and examined by a dental professional on a regular basis. Periodontal Disease can go undetected and lead to infection and loss of teeth if it is not diagnosed early.
The American Academy of Periodontology lists the signs of periodontal disease as the following:
Have you been told you have lots of new cavities (aka: caries) that you did not expect! Dental caries are caused by bacteria that live in our mouths that stick to our teeth. When we consume sugar containing substances this causes these bacteria to produce acids that decay our teeth. During the Christmas Season we tend to consume more sugary foods but we also are exposed to more cold viruses and the associated coughs that come with them. Cough drops can contain sugar and because they remain in our mouths for extended periods of time they can be a significant cause of dental caries. It is important to note that even small quantities of sugar can cause tooth decay if they are in contact with our teeth for a long time. So try to minimize the amount of sugar containing foods and beverages that you consume in between meals. If you use cough drops or breath mints make sure they are sugar free. If your dentist tells you that you have a lot of new cavities look for new sources of sugar that you may be consuming and try to minimize your exposure. If you are seeing a Dentist for the 1st time and you are told you have a lot of cavities that you did not expect you may also want to consider a second opinion.