Is it safe to visit the dentist?

It has been more than eight months since the coronavirus pandemic forced lockdowns, which means it is past time for most people to get their regular dental exam and cleaning.

The pandemic has created fear about a slate of normal activities, particularly ones that require close contact indoors, like going to the dentist.

But dentists are doing their part to reassure people that it is safe to come to the office.

“The transmission of COVID in the dental office is practically nonexistent,” said Dr. Richard Nagy, president of the California Dental Association on KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” program Wednesday.

That is because dentists are well-versed in infection control policies.

“Ever since the mid-eighties when the HIV scare came, dental offices were the leaders in infection control policies for blood borne pathogens,” explained Dr. Nagy.

He says between state of the art PPE, face masks, face shields and disinfectants, the likelihood of transmission is low.

And if you really feel concerned, talk to your dentist about their safety practices and give them the chance to assuage your worries. Dr. Nagy says while it might feel strange, you could even ask the dentist about their COVID status.

“I think that’s a valid question for the dentist and I think most dentists would be very happy to answer that because again, the answer would be, ‘no I don’t have COVID as well as my staff or my office has not seen COVID patients’.”

And with many more months to go before the majority of Americans have access to a coronavirus vaccine, Dr. Nagy says it is time to stop putting off seeing the dentist.

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My Dentist Visit (T+30 Review)

I just got back from a couple of hours at the dentist. Had a couple of cavities. My teeth seem to be of the sugarcube variety. This isn’t good for me, but it is good for my dentist. 

I think I had it coming, mainly because of the sweet tooth and the bad flossing habits. But I also think it’s karmic retribution for two of my most often-used references that, for whatever reason, have grown in usage over the last few months.

First, it is, of course…

I mean, this is peak Simpsons. Yes, I know seasons two through nine are the best, and it’s a shadow of its former self, etc. However, I will contend that during its multi-season peak (think about that), it is the greatest comedy of all time. All time!

The second callback reference that seemed to anger the dental gods…

The Office is a fine comedy, and also one that had some great seasons under its belt before becoming terrible because Jim and Pam are terrible people and Michael Scott is amazing. But come on, even The Office haters have to appreciate the sheer stupidity of this interaction.

“Must be a good dentist…”

“Oh yeah.”

“What’s his name?”

[long pause] “Crentist.”

“Your dentist’s name is Crentist. Sounds a lot like dentist.”

“Maybe that’s why he became a dentist.”

Solid writing, genius delivery.

I’ve bothered my wife and kids with my terrible rendition of this ridiculously stupid joke so many times, it must have angered either my teeth, or my dentist, or Crentist, because I was suddenly back in the dentist’s chair, awaiting two fillings.

Not a big deal. All in all, compared to a root canal, this is a cinch. But a few things. 

First of all, novocaine has gotten worse in taste. It was never good, but today it tasted like I imagine acid tastes, and not the good kind of acid, either. I could have used that, not this fucking novocaine.

Secondly, I must have been shot up nine or ten times, and somehow we still hit a nerve. Oh, you people who have never had a cavity, fuck you people. The pain of hitting a nerve is what I imagine giving birth feels like, but only if the kid comes out of your tooth. It’s awful.

Thirdly, they had a TV in the room, but everything is so loud: the drill, the scraper, the gouger, the thoughts of regret over not flossing correctly, it’s all so numbing. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway because it was HGTV and that’s the worst. I live in New Jersey — houses don’t cost under $300K. Apartments don’t cost under $300K. These places where you can get 4000 sq ft for $220K with a big backyard, where are you? WHEN are you? Nah.

Fourth, I guess there’s new dental technology at the tail end of the filling where my dentist had to basically get a ring around the tooth using a small pair of dental pliers. It

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Can’t visit the dentist? Here’s how to take better care of your teeth

For many of us, the routine trip to the dentist is just one of the ways in which our lives have been disrupted in 2020. The British Dental Association (BDA) estimates that, since the March lockdown, dentists in England have provided nearly 19m fewer treatments than in the same period last year.

a close up of a person holding a toothbrush: Photograph: Daniel Day/Getty Images

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Photograph: Daniel Day/Getty Images

Does it matter what type of brush or toothhpaste you use?

© Photograph: Daniel Day/Getty Images
Does it matter what type of brush or toothhpaste you use?

What do you need to know about dental emergencies, and what more can you do to care for your teeth? We asked the experts.

What dentistry services are currently available?

Although some routine dental treatments are now available again, in the UK, surgeries’ operating capacity has been reduced and some are triaging patients according to their level of need and risk.

If you would like to see your dentist, it is advisable to contact them by phone or email to see if it is necessary for you to visit. For up-to-date advice on accessing dental care in the UK, see the NHS website.

What is the risk of catching coronavirus at the dentist?

Although they are assumed to be at high risk of contracting Covid-19, a recent study of nearly 2,200 US dentists found that fewer than 1% tested positive in June. Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the BDA, says dentists’ routine attention to infection control puts them at an advantage. “It’s almost second nature to us.”

A heightened potential risk of coronavirus transmission is in the use of instruments such as dental drills or ultrasonic scalers, which create a fine mist.

How are dentists adapting?

The profession is still adapting its procedures as more becomes known about how the virus spreads. For example, some dentists have switched to handheld tools that are slower, but create less spray. “Everything’s a bit of a compromise,” says Walmsley.

Access to services is improving. In England, the “fallow time” during which a treatment room must remain empty after any aerosol-generating procedure was recently reduced from an hour to 15-20 minutes (depending on ventilation), enabling dentists to see more patients.

What can I do to care for my teeth while I can’t get to a dentist?

“The majority of dental problems are preventable,” says Walmsley. Brushing your teeth in the morning and at night, for two minutes each time, will generally be enough to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Studies have shown, however, that people brush for an average of 43 seconds. “Four minutes a day is not a lot to ask,” says Dr Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation.

a person brushing the teeth: We should be brushing our teeth for two minutes twice a day. Photograph: 10’000 Hours/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
We should be brushing our teeth for two minutes twice a day. Photograph: 10’000 Hours/Getty Images

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

Any toothpaste with fluoride will do. Not only does it help to prevent tooth decay, but it slows down the rate of progression of any existing decay. Carter is concerned by the increasing

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Your Next Dentist Visit May Look Different — What To Expect and Why

Sponsored – Dentist Offices have reopened to see patients for routine visits but with changes due to COVID19 your next stop may feel anything but routine.

a person sitting on a table: WMTV

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“A lot of things have changed as far as the COVID19 virus,” said Dr. Dave Ducommun of Madison No Fear Dentistry where new protocols are in place to protect both patients and their team. “We want to make sure that we keep people at a six foot distance at a minimum. If we get closer than that we want to certainly make sure that we have self protective equipment on because we have to treat everybody as if they have COVID19 — an active infection — as if they’re walking around and they are asymptomatic yet they are shedding viruses. So, we treat pretty much every patient and each other in the office like that.”

From the moment you drive into the parking lot you will begin to see the changes in place.

“It used to be when you got to your dental office you would walk in and check in at the front desk. That doesn’t happen any more,” Dr. Ducommun explained. “We have a big sign on the outside of the building that says please text us to let us know you’re here and then in response we text them back a survey to make sure they’re pre-screened and don’t have any symptoms at this time and a little consent form. It works really well and now we know who’s waiting in their car and who’s healthy and can come in.”

“Once we’re ready for them and we want to do all the front desk things we call them in As they get in they go straight to the sink and wash their hands. We want to make sure everybody’s got clean hands. We’ve blocked all the doors open in the building so there’s minimum surfaces to touch.”

“Once they wash their hands they come to the front desk and they can check in and do all their insurance things that they need to do and we take their forehead temperature to make sure that they actually don’t have a temperature at that time.”

No Fear Dentistry even installed plexiglass to help keep the front desk team and patients socially distanced.

“Then they are ready to go back and their provider is ready for them so they walk 6 feet away from each other, they go into the room and they’re asked to use a peroxide switch for 60 seconds. That actually is really effective against the virus and it kills the virus. So again one more time they wash their hands, sit in the chair to minimize touching of anything and then our team members get on their PPE and they are now protected and they can come within 6 feet of the patient.”

No Fear Dentistry is also limiting the use of ultrasonic dental equipment to prevent aerosols in the air and adding

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Hours after Lightfoot announces new COVID-19 restrictions, Birx warns during Chicago visit that closing public spaces won’t be enough

CHICAGO — Just hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new restrictions on businesses in response to rising COVID-19 cases, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx cautioned that closing public spaces won’t be enough to stop the illness’s spread.

a person wearing a suit and tie: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.

© Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks before delivering her budget address on October 21, 2020, in Council Chambers at City Hall.

Birx said it’s possible some of the recent spread is happening in people’s homes, during family gatherings, as the weather gets colder. She spoke at a news conference following a private meeting with leaders from Rush University System for Health, Northwestern Medicine and the Illinois and Chicago departments of public health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Thursday.

“It won’t be as simple as closing public spaces because public spaces … were very safe over the summer and probably remain safe,” Birx said. “This is really something that has happened in the last three to four weeks. What has happened in the last three to four weeks is that people have moved their social gatherings indoors.”

On Thursday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a curfew for nonessential businesses and no more indoor service at bars that don’t serve food. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has also announced tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants and gatherings in suburban counties with high COVID-19 positivity rates.

On Thursday the state announced 4,942 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and the statewide rolling positivity rate stood at 5.7%, up from 3.7% two weeks earlier. In Illinois, 2,463 patients were in the hospital with COVID-19, according to Thursday figures, up from 1,812 two weeks earlier.

Birx also said Thursday that she advocated for weekly testing while meeting privately with hospital and public health leaders.

She said, at the news conference, that finding the “silent cases” and asymptomatic cases is “critical in preventing community spread.”

She recommended asking certain community members — such as community college students, teachers or hospital workers — if they would be willing to be tested weekly. She said universities that have tested students weekly have had more success limiting infections than those that only tested students who had been directly exposed to COVID-19 or had symptoms.

Birx said testing, along with mask-wearing and social distancing, are key to getting the spread of COVID-19 under control.

When asked what she’s doing to get President Donald Trump to understand the importance of social distancing and mask-wearing, she said: “My public health guidance is consistent no matter who I’m speaking to. I think you can see there’s a diversity of how people relate to that message.”


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What’s It Like To Visit the Dentist During the Pandemic?


I never feared going to have my teeth cleaned. Then the pandemic hit.

dentist chair

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Way back when, during the simpler days of December, I made a routine appointment for a teeth cleaning. It was the sort of thing I didn’t think twice about at the time, but as the months raced by it began to take on the outsize importance of an existential question: Was I willing to risk getting COVID-19, or giving it to those around me, in the name of improving my gum health? I was caught between two poles: the knowledge that Massachusetts had one of the lowest transmission rates in the country, and my sheer horror—after months holed up at home without going anywhere unless my mouth remained duly covered—of sitting in an enclosed space with a stranger while my jaws hung open for 20 minutes straight.

As the date rapidly approached in mid-August, I leaned toward canceling. It just didn’t seem worth it, but then my dentist’s office called and walked me through the prescreening protocol. It was the same list of hygiene-theater questions we’ve all heard—Had I been running a fever? Had I been around anyone who’d tested positive?—and so forth, as though there is anyone in America this net would catch. Either you’re asymptomatic and have no idea you’re infected, or you’re a buffoon or someone who doesn’t care about other people’s safety, in which case the screening probably won’t be enough to stop you. At the end of the call, though, the scheduler caught me off-guard with six little words: “So, are you going to come?” I was still unsure: Six months into this pandemic, I remained utterly incapable of assessing risk meaningfully. Was a dentist’s office safe? As much as I fear the consequences of not getting my teeth cleaned, maybe it really wasn’t that important. Or maybe it was just important enough.

It’s the sort of constant decision-making paralysis so many of us have suffered during quarantine, and could be the reason why a a recent survey done by the American Dental Association found that less than 36 percent of Massachusetts dentists reported experiencing business as usual in August. But for me, it was combined with my lifelong struggle to make choices with the best possible outcome for the highest number of people. If you read that sentence and thought, “That sounds like it would lead to you never making a decision,” you are correct. It is a horrible way to live, and I don’t recommend it. During the pandemic alone, I have argued with myself over everything from whether shopping online or in person is more ethical to whether I could justify visiting the library. Having lived inside this particular mind for a good long time, though, I have developed an important strategy: I let myself go down whatever feverish neural pathways my brain decides are

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Asking Never Hurts: Telemedicine or In-Person Visit? The Pros and Cons | Healthiest Communities

As COVID-19 took hold in March, U.S. doctors limited in-person appointments — and many patients avoided them — for fear of infection. The result was a huge increase in the volume of remote medical and behavioral health visits.

Doctors, hospitals and mental health providers across the country reported a 50- to 175-fold rise in the number of virtual visits, according to a report released in May by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

The COVID-fueled surge has tapered off as patients venture back to doctors’ offices. But medical professionals and health experts predict that when the pandemic is over, telehealth will still play a much larger role than before.

“There are still a few doubting Thomases, but now that we’ve run our practices this way for three months, people have learned that it’s pretty useful,” says Dr. Joseph Kvedar, president of the American Telemedicine Association and a practicing dermatologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

For patients, the advantages of telemedicine are clear: You typically can get an appointment sooner, in the safety of your own home or workplace, saving time and money on gas and parking — in some cases, even avoiding a loss in wages for missing work.

James Wolfrom, a 69-year-old retired postal executive in San Francisco, has had mostly virtual health care appointments since the pandemic started. He particularly appreciates the video visits.

“It’s just like I’m in the room with the doctor, with all of the benefits and none of the disadvantages of having to haul my body over to the facility,” says Wolfrom, who has Type 2 diabetes. “Even after the pandemic, I’m going to prefer doing the video conferencing over having to go there.”

Telemedicine also provides care for people in rural areas who live far from medical facilities.

The growth of virtual care has been facilitated by Medicare rule changes for the COVID-19 emergency, including one that reimburses doctors for telemedicine at the same rate as in-person care for an expanded list of services. State regulators and commercial health plans also loosened their telehealth policies.

In California, the Department of Managed Health Care, which regulates health plans covering the vast majority of the state’s insured residents, requires commercial plans and most Medi-Cal managed care plans during the pandemic to pay providers for telehealth at parity with regular appointments and limit cost sharing by patients to no more than what they would pay for in-person visits. Starting Jan. 1, a state law — AB-744 — will make that permanent for commercial plans.

Five other states — Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota and New Mexico — have pay-parity laws already in effect, according to Mei Wa Kwong, executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy. Washington state has one that also will begin Jan. 1.

If you are planning a telehealth appointment, be sure to ask your health plan if it is covered and how much the copay or coinsurance will be. The appointment may be through your in-network provider or a

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San Antonio mayor to discuss Space Force, military medicine in Pentagon visit

Mayor Ron Nurenberg will spend Thursday in Washington talking with top Pentagon officials about bolstering the military’s many medical assets here, as well as the city’s hope to serve as the new home of U.S. Space Command.

Ron Nirenberg et al. standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg attends the basic military training graduation of 526 airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in 2017.

© Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News

Mayor-elect Ron Nirenberg attends the basic military training graduation of 526 airmen at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in 2017.

He’ll meet with the Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., as well as Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, U.S. Space Force’s chief of space operations, and the head of the Defense Health Agency, Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place.


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The goal: Convince those leaders that San Antonio, “Military City, U.S.A.,” is ready to host Space Command, support other new Air Force operations here and help expand military medicine missions.

“I wanted them to know San Antonio is going to show up, even when the world’s on pause,” Nirenberg said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike the annual SA to DC lobbying trip to Washington, this one will be a small affair, with Nirenberg bringing only two others with him. Nirenberg called this trip a “precision exercise.”

“If SA to DC is sending in the cavalry, this trip is the air strike,” he said.

In setting up the meetings, Pentagon officials asked that the mayor keep the group to just three people because they were to meet with major decision-makers. The others with him retired Marine Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, director of the city’s Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, and Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president/CEO of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.

The big-ticket items on the agenda include Space Command and the Defense Health Agency, but there will be other stops. Nirenberg will talk with the undersecretary of the Army, and the Department of Defense’s office for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support to Civil Authorities.

The mayor’s office said Nirenberg will have specific “asks” or points of information for ongoing or future initiatives from the city or local military community that add value to Joint Base San Antonio, the largest joint base in the Department of Defense. The trip will encourage senior Pentagon leaders to consider keeping San Antonio at the top of their list to either relocate missions or activate new ones.

San Antonio made it through the initial cut as the Air Force seeks a permanent headquarters for the Space Command, now based in Colorado Springs, Colo. Governors from 26 states nominated 100 cities to be the command’s new home.

It was established as the 11th combat command in August 2019 and the Air Force is now in the evaluation phase of a selection process that aims to pick finalists in mid-to late-November. A decision is expected in January, and the new headquarters will take about six years to put in place.

Nirenberg has said San Antonio is a natural fit for Space Command because of its quality of life, a

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Visit dentist for regular checkups

With the growing interest in preventive dentistry, replacing the old method of drill and fill, a question arises: Does it negatively affect a dentist’s income? Considering that dental treatments can oftentimes be quite costly, this certainly rings true. But is it real? To determine whether this is real or not, it is essential to first take a closer look at what preventive dentistry covers.

According to a survey by the market research platform DentaVox, the most important factors of dental prevention for patients are regular check-ups and teeth cleaning, taking a large majority of almost half the answers in the findings. Oral care routine and products come in second with around a third of respondents. And while both checkups and teeth cleaning procedures cost zero to none for any dentist, they contribute to a small, but healthy regular income flow.

Having in mind the poor access to dental insurance for people all over the world, when it comes to who foots the bills for these routine, preventive services, it is quite often the patients themselves (in 70 per cent of respondents), as seen in the results of the same survey. Sadly, this is also the case when it comes to expensive treatments, which insurance covers only a small portion of. That is why it is not out of the blue to see that patients will be less likely to seek treatment for major issues if they cannot afford it, which leads to an irregular and decreased patient flow for dentists.

Summing it up, while drill & fill dentistry does seem to pay more in the short-term, it also creates more space between appointments and the practice. This translates into less income in the long-run, especially for dentists servicing low-income populations, who cannot afford them.

That is why it is essential for dentists to set up a regular income flow through regular check-ups and cleanings in order to increase their overall revenue. Moreover, the common practice of offering membership plans – basic dental services coverage against monthly fees – is also here to support income diversification.

Naturally, this doesn’t mean that all major expensive procedures are out of the picture. They will still be there to provide an additional boost to a dentist’s bottom line.


So how can a dentist be sure, they will be able to set up a regular income flow from preventive dentistry? Fortunately, with the rise of digital technology, there are tools already available that allow us to take a look under the hood and see the specifics to decide for ourselves.

Enter, for example, Dentacoin Assurance – a novel method for fostering prevention in exchange for small monthly premiums paid out directly from patient to dentist. The website’s calculator makes it easy for dentists to imagine their possible income increase, taking into account the number of patients the dentist serves, their qualifications, and the average premiums of the country they reside in.

This gives an excellent overview for dentists who are interested in setting up

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Relaxing Options For Your Cosmetic Dentist Visit

There are several ways to relax when you visit your dentist. Some are simply mind over matter and employ techniques such as listening to music, gazing at peaceful scenery, or watching the latest movie in an effort to distract you from what’s going on in your mouth. More recently, the efforts of a cosmetic dentist, which may include more extensive work, will offer a broader range of relaxation techniques. These offerings may be known as sedation dentistry.

Find A Happy Place

This method sounds trite, but sometimes clearing your mind, listening to soothing music or nature sounds can go a long way toward relieving some of the anxiety that many people experience when visiting their cosmetic dentist. It is often the anticipation of pain, rather than the actual pain experienced that creates the high level of anxiety that many people go through. Children generally feel a lot more comfortable with their dentist when there’s kids music playing in the background, especially those kid songs on YouTube, the reason more clinics are achieving success with them.

Take A Pill

Your dentist may prescribe an oral sedative such as Diazepam the night before a procedure. Some meds may be offered even hours before an appointment. These sedatives will relax you, but will not offer pain relief. So in addition to the sedative, your dentist will still apply local anesthetic such as a shot of Novocain.

IV Therapy

Some cosmetic dentists are able to offer anti-anxiety medication via intravenous (IV) sedation. Although, if part of your fear stems from needles, this form of relaxation may not appeal to you either. Again, there is no pain relief with this method, so the application of local anesthetic will be necessary.

Just Laugh

Perhaps the most popular – or most regularly lampooned – version of sedation is nitrous oxide gas or laughing gas. The patient breathes the gas in, while remaining conscious, allowing your dentist to again apply local anesthetic to eliminate any pain you may experience during your procedure.

Sleep It Off

The one method of sedation completely guaranteed to remove all anxiety and pain is general anesthesia. With this technique, the dentist uses anesthetic to make the patient completely unconscious. While unconscious, you will feel no pain and have no awareness of your surroundings. This is the only method that will not require local anesthetic, you will however, have to recover from being completely knocked out.

The four methods described above can be used in combination with each other to provide you with the level of comfort that you desire. Your cosmetic dentist may offer laughing gas to relax you prior to starting an IV for more aggressive sedation methods. An anti-anxiety pill may be used in conjunction with the laughing gas to ensure that you are completely relaxed.

Going to the dentist need not be an anxiety laden event. Whether you need dentists, Minneapolis or Little Rock, cosmetic dentist professionals can consult with you to find the sedation therapy combination that is …

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