It is important to assess your oral health from time to time in order to identify certain dental illnesses and abnormalities early on.
From dental cleanings and routine dental check-ups to X-rays that help identify cavities, infections, and bone abnormalities, patients must be able to access these services easily and affordably.
At HCPSC, our aim is to offer quality dental healthcare to our patients whenever they may need it. If you want to avail dental health services for yourself or any of your family members, register here.
HCPSC Dental Services
At HCPSC, you have access to a number of routine and emergency dental procedures. There are dental care providers who follow all the recommended practices to provide a completely COVID-safe environment to their patients.
Here is an overview of the dental procedures offered at HCPSC
Prevalence of Oral Health Conditions
Oral health conditions are quite common all over the world. According to the WHO, more than 2 billion people suffer from dental caries (tooth decay) and about 514 million children are affected by caries of permanent teeth .
Among other oral diseases that are prevalent worldwide, gum disease and oral cancer are quite prominent. According to the CDC, about 47% of Americans currently have gum disease, which may be in its early or advanced stage.
Recent research has uncovered a concerning correlation between gum disease and COVID-19 mortality rates. According to the study, individuals with pre-existing gum disease are nine times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without .
Since mental health issues, especially stress and anxiety, have significantly increased after COVID-19, these can also lead to certain oral conditions like gum disease and tooth decay. Moreover, factors like poverty, substance use, and poor diet also contribute to a declining oral health.
These stats clearly indicate a connection between COVID-19 and dental health. They also highlight the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and getting vaccinated against the virus as soon as possible. It is also advisable to seek professional dental care for the treatment of certain oral conditions, particularly gum disease before it advances into a more serious concern.
Stress and Dental Health Problems
Among the factors that increase the likelihood of getting certain oral health issues, stress has been identified as the leading cause of dental problems during the pandemic.
Stress can cause issues like teeth grinding, which leads to tooth damage and TMJ (temporomandibular joints) syndrome.
Some other conditions that may manifest themselves if you feel anxious and overwhelmed by stress include ;
- Dry mouth
- Canker sores
- Lichen planus
- Burning mouth syndrome
These conditions usually arise when you neglect your dental hygiene due to stress or have bad eating habits.
Stress can also cause a weakened immune system due to the release of cortisol hormone. This is another concerning fact in the wake of COVID-19 because a weakened immune system can lead to an increased risk of getting all types of infections including COVID-19.
People who take antidepressants to manage their depression and stress during COVID-19 often suffer from dry mouth. When there is little saliva available to clear away food debris, there is an increased risk of getting bacterial infections.
How is COVID-19 Linked to Dental Health?
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, gum disease has been recognized as one of the risk factors for COVID-19 .
This means if you have gum disease and you also contract the virus, you may develop COVID-related complications and require hospitalization.
While research is still underway for understanding how COVID-19 might be linked to certain oral health conditions, there are a few oral symptoms that people with COVID-19 have experienced.
It was found that people with periodontal symptoms have a higher risk of being hospitalized after getting COVID-19 .
Moreover, those with painful and bleeding gums are at a high risk of dying from COVID-19. These people may suffer from advanced gum disease, which in most cases is irreversible.
In the study, it was observed that the virus responsible for COVID-19 was present in the periodontal tissue of seven patients who died of the disease. A post-mortem examination revealed the presence of the virus in the gums of these patients, which also raises concerns about the potential oral transmission of the virus .
This discovery highlights the fact that if you want to minimize the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus, you must maintain good oral hygiene.
Particularly, if you have gum disease or an early stage of periodontitis, you should visit your dentist regularly to get the condition cured.
It was observed in these studies that loose teeth is a condition that has no connection with COVID-19 severity or mortality.
A few studies have also shown a rising trend in the prescription of antibiotics and opioid analgesics in oral health services during the pandemic .
The main reason for this increase in prescription is likely due to restrictions and limitations in getting access to dental procedures.
Particularly, individuals who require routine check-ups and treatments for dental ailments may have postponed or neglected their oral health during the pandemic, leading to a rise in dental problems.
Moreover, people with underlying health issues, such as diabetes, may require hospital care if they get COVID-19, which in turn can increase the likelihood of developing oral health issues.
Moreover, there are certain oral care procedures that require the use of aerosol-generating equipment. These may include high-speed drills and ultrasonic scalers. Drills are commonly used to remove decayed portions of teeth and shape them and to remove old fillings.
Non-emergency dental procedures can be postponed during the pandemic in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Many clinics now offer the facility of telemedicine or tele-consultation. It’s advisable to use this remote service in order to stay safe from the disease.
However, if you require an emergency procedure, particularly for the treatment of serious ailments like periodontal disease, you may visit your dentist.
Here are some conditions that may require emergency treatment in a dental care clinic
- Acute oral infections
- Prolonged bleeding
- Severe dental or orofacial pain
Since most children are asymptomatic or show no symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, pediatric dentists are at a high risk of getting infected with the coronavirus. Because of this reason, restrictions were imposed to prevent the spread of the virus through direct transmission in dental care clinics.
However, because of these preventive measures, dental cases among the pediatric population have increased significantly.
Poor dental health in children during the pandemic has also been attributed to poor oral hygiene, increased intake of sweetened foods and drinks, and neglected toothbrushing.
As with many other viral infections, COVID-19 can have several oral manifestations in children as well as adults. While children are mostly asymptomatic, in some rare cases they may experience ulcers, erosions, and halitosis after getting the infection.
If, because of any reason, children may experience persistent aching teeth and bleeding gums, it indicates not just poor oral hygiene, but also some underlying serious dental issue that requires immediate professional dental care.
In addition, you must seek dental care immediately if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of gum disease or periodontal disease.