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Your Healthy Family: Some dental offices treating emergencies if needed during CO stay in place order

Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 22:35:59-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Governor Jared Polis’s executive order to stay at home to prevent further spread of the coronavirus went into effect Thursday morning at 6 a.m. and will last for at least fifteen days. It’s important to understand that the order makes it clear that taking care of your health is still essential and allowed.

Dental care is one of the businesses clearly identified in the Governor's order as a “Critical Business” that is allowed to treat patients on an emergency basis.

As we told you last week [SEE STORY HERE] on Monday March 16th, 2020, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommended that dental offices in the United States suspend elective procedures for three weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus and to only treat cases of an emergent nature. Guerra Dental canceled and rescheduled all elective procedures and regular check ups following the guidance from the ADA.

Dr. Fred Guerra, DMD with Guerra Dental in Colorado Springs, emphasized however, when it comes to a painful issue in your mouth it’s important those things are not ignored. In this unusual time connecting with your dentist to discuss what's going on is your best move. It is likely something that can wait until the stay in place order is lifted in Colorado. But it may be something that is at risk of progressing to a deeper stage of disease if an emergency procedure is not performed. Only your dentist can make that critical decision.

If going to a dental office at a time when we are being strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and limit our contact with other people worries you, Dr. Guerra says any dental practice “worth its’ salt” is continually on high alert preventing the spread of germs and disease.

“We've been through this [kind of situation] before when we had the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result, we had extensive training in blood-borne contaminants, aerosol contaminants and using personal protective equipment (PPE) and procedures called universal precautions; so we treat every person as if they were infectious. We've been doing that in dentistry for thirty years. It’s ingrained in us.”

Elective dental procedures, like treating cosmetic issues or regular cleanings for people who are in good oral health should wait. But Dr. Guerra says some oral health issues if ignored can lead to much bigger health issues and even hospitalization.

“Those people that have acute gum infections, or a cracked tooth, those things can lead to infection and a reduced immune system. When someone has a reduced immune system they are more susceptible to catch a virus.”

Dr. Guerra says beating the current COVID-19 pandemic depends on all of us taking good care of our personal health and following the instructions and orders we are being given by our elected officials and medical experts.

“I think this is a time for us all to be leaders. We can be leaders in our individual responsibilities and the things we choose to do. I know what I need to do in the dental office. Someone working behind the counter at a gas station or in a grocery market knows what they need to do to mitigate the spread. I think if we all feel like we're in a position where we can help everybody out collectively, we're going to get through this much faster.”

These principals of taking care of your health right now also apply to other specialists. Optometrists, audiologists and even veterinarians when it comes to emergencies for your pet. Give them a call if a situation arises that needs attention.

Do not go to our crowded emergency rooms with a toothache, or a critical problem with your eyes or ears. A specialist can advise you and will likely be far less expensive than a trip to the ER.

Dr. Guerra says at Guerra Dental, “Our phones will be answered all the time. If someone has an acute issue, they can certainly reach someone answering here at our office and we will individually tailor an appointment to see them for their problem if needed. I would advise anybody in the same situation to check with their dentist and see what their emergency protocol is going to be for these three weeks. If for whatever reason they are not able to reach them, or not able to get out of pain, they can feel free to give us a call, and we will be glad to help.”

Guerra Dental is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family