Staying safe means staying at home. Be sure to make time for healthy activities like exercising, eating well, relaxing, connecting with family and friends on the phone or computer, and maintaining your oral health. These actions keep you and your immune system healthy. Host response (good health) is your best defense against any pathogen.
Is our dental office included in the Governor’s order for business closures?
No. The Governor’s order is for non-health services, such as restaurants and hair salons. However, on March 17, 2020, all dentists were asked to postpone elective procedures, surgeries and non-urgent visits, but be available for emergencies. Some dental offices have chosen to close; we are open on Tuesdays only until further notice.
When can our offices resume all services?
A date has not yet been determined and will be based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Illinois Department of Public Health. The availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing, as well as the burden of COVID-19 illness will be key factors in making a decision.
What can I do?
Oral health should be a priority. There is a lot you can do through simple day-to-day habits.
- Brush twice daily for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste
- Properly floss and brush/clean your tongue once daily
- Never share a toothbrush
- Change your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if you are sick
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water
- Limit starchy or sugary foods and drinks
- Resist unhealthy habits to manage stress (smoking, consuming alcohol, biting fingernails)
If your gums bleed while brushing or flossing, continue to brush and floss gently and thoroughly. Often when gum health improves, bleeding decreases. Contact us when COVID-19 restrictions for non-urgent care are lifted.
What should I do if I have dental treatments not completed or care that is in process?
- For periodontal disease - make sure that you continue to brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. The toothbrush should be angled where the teeth and gums meet. Flossing at least one time per day should also be part of your daily routine. You can add a mouth rinse, such as Listerine to decrease the number of bacteria in your mouth.
- For untreated dental cavities - brushing your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing, and drinking water is helpful. To this routine, adding the use of sugar free or xylitol containing gum, eliminating sugar and carbohydrate snacks can help stop cavities from developing further.
- For temporary crowns, temporary fillings, and in process root canal treatments - clean area carefully and avoid chewing gum, chewy/sticky foods and chewing on hard items, such as popcorn or ice chips. It is important to keep your tooth sealed. If you experience any problems, contact our office. We are there on Tuesdays but check voicemail messages on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
But before you go outside the safety of your home:
A. Contact our office. We are currently seeing patients with problems on Tuesdays during May.
- For days other than Tuesdays, communicate your problem by:
- Telephone: (847) 272-0049 and follow instructions left on our voicemail
- Email: [email protected]
- Digital photo sharing
- Be prepared to answer questions
- About fever (have a current temperature reading)
- Dry cough
- Trouble Breathing
- Accept that in some cases, definitive care may not be safe to provide
- Your dentist may be able to provide care to alleviate pain, swelling, or other urgent issues. However, current treatment options may be limited as many treatments aerosolize COVID-19.
B. Is dental care safe during COVID-19?
- B. There are no documented cases of COVID-19 spreading from a dental care provider to a patient, however there is still a lot of missing data. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers dental procedures that generate aerosols a high-risk interaction, due to the prolonged and close contact with saliva, blood, and respiratory secretions.
- C. Dental offices have traditionally had high adherence to infection control procedures using PPE and cleaning surfaces with high level disinfectant. This combination has resulted in a history of safety. Additional PPE and disinfection are required for safe care during this time of COVID-19, including use of N95 mask and other air processing measures.
- D. Fortunately, due to the dedicated co-workers we have working at our office, we have the recommended KN-95 masks and face shields. We also have the strongest high speed evacuation system available and have ordered independent high volume aerosol reduction units to insure the safety of our patients and staff.
How can our patients support safety at dental offices?
- Understand that we need extra measures and more time to keep you and the office safe, and may include requiring patients and family to wait in cars and not sit in the waiting room.
- More PPE and cleaning may be required, which can result in the need for more time between patients.
- Inform us if you’ve been sick, been tested for COVID-19, or had recently been quarantined.
- If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or feel you’ve been exposed to the virus, please stay home and contact your physician who may suggest you be tested.
Is our office testing for COVID-19?
- Knowing the COVID-19 status of patients is important for safe care, Dr. Fernitz has attempted to order test kits, but has been told they are not available to dentists yet.