While dentists are expected to be closed at least through April 16, dental emergencies are bound to happen.
"An abscess, a broken tooth, a pain that Tylenol or Advil does not take care of, a broken orthodontic wire that is stabbing a child's gum." According to Dr. Lige Dunaway in Lafayette, these are all issues that really can't wait, and even while offices aren't seeing patients for regular visits, they'll still take emergencies.
"Dentists are still seeing emergencies and we encourage anybody who has a dental emergency to call their dentist. Right now we're trying to keep any and all extra emergencies out of hospital emergency rooms," says Dr. Madeleine Groth in Lafayette.
Things like dental cleanings, teeth whitening, veneers and treatment of cavities that aren't painful can all wait the 30 days. The more urgent issues could cause permanent damage if they aren't addressed.
"Delaying treatment like that can result in the ultimate loss, which would be losing teeth or losing the other structures in your mouth, losing the function that your teeth and your mouth give you. So anything that can be treated right now may save your teeth in the long run," says Dr. Groth.
In the case of an emergency over the next few weeks visiting your dentist rather than the hospital will ensure proper treatment, less crowding in emergency rooms, and and lower likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.
"We're actually making patients wait in the parking lot until they are called in and then their body temperatures checked, we ask them several questions - have they been out of the country? Do they have a cough? Sore throat? Shortness of breath? And if they say yes we will ask them to quickly leave," says Dr. Dunaway.
If you have a question regarding a dental issue or aren't sure if it's an emergency, you can visit this website or call a local dentist.