During these unconventional times of navigating our way through a pandemic, we found it rather surprising that most dental procedures were considered “unessential” due to Covid-19 restrictions. Pediatric dentistry provides a fundamental part of healthcare that was, unfortunately, overlooked and unavailable to the majority of children for up to nearly four months. This was a very challenging time for parents in maintaining their young one’s proper oral hygiene and development while on lockdown.
Pediatric dentistry, especially in the earliest of developmental stages, should have been deemed essential. Preventative dental healthcare, at all levels, provides the first line of defense and diagnosis in patients, directly affecting those with underlying issues or pregenetic concerns.
Most medical professionals will acknowledge that a person’s oral cavity is the gateway to their immune system. Neglecting dental care or proper oral hygiene will only result in a decrease of one’s overall health. Dentistry is an integral part of medical care, hence why moving forward, it is important during this health crisis to not ignore or abandon any established holistic and/or professional approach when it comes to pediatric dentistry and taking care of one’s teeth. Regardless of government opinion, dental procedures and treatment is needed through this pandemic.
The Dental Breakdown
Saliva has two very beneficial antibodies to combat bad particles like bacteria and viruses- immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin G (IgG). Those not practicing in the medical field are those who have been involved in the decision-making process whether to keep dentistry an active industry as healthcare workers.
Experts understand and agree that seeing a pediatric dentist or your general dentist should be the first part of anyone’s strategy in self-protection against the novel coronavirus. Since the oral cavity is the main entry way and line of defense and care to the immune system, individuals, especially those with comorbidities such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, and diabetes are even more at risk. Those individuals who are seemingly in good health may still experience significant decay, oral infections or periodontal disease if the microflora becomes out of balance.
When it comes to bacteria build-up, like what leads to periodontal disease, it can also have a negative affect on the cardiovascular system and circulatory system. The inflammation of the arteries, caused by the bacteria, as well as the accumulation of plaque, can also occlude the vascular system over an extended period of time.
If a person does not take care of their teeth or gum tissue properly, it can all have an impact on glycemic control in diabetics which can make it extremely challenging to properly control their daily glucose intake. Most individuals who are not dentists are unaware of this, making it difficult for the public or officials to determine what is essential.
Although throughout the imposed shutdown, most offices, including our own, were readily available to treat patients who were experiencing emergencies or unprecedented pain and discomfort.
Since we take every child’s dental health and overall health and wellness so seriously, it is our mission to educate our patients to look at their own oral routine with the same level of importance as anything else. The spreading of the infectious Covid-19 is widely connected to air droplets so we must understand the line of defense in the oral cavity. We must all stand together and make sure people know that in all aspects of life, oral healthcare is just as important as taking care of all other vital organs. This is key information and should be top of mind during this pandemic.
We treat each child, not only as a dental patient during their visit but we go over their airway and breathing, development, sleeping patterns, as well as nutrition to ensure they are staying as strong as could be. We also work with additional specialists to co-manage their general physical well-being.
The professional and medical work in pediatric dentistry and general dentistry, as well as the services offered are considered essential healthcare, and we must make sure to promote it that way to patients, other healthcare providers, and the government.