The pandemic has changed almost everything about our lives and our dental health is no exception. The pandemic caused a lot of dental surgeries to put regular checkups on hold, which then led a lot of people to put their dental care on the back burner. Whether this is due to worries about Covid, lack of finances to pay for the treatment or even just forgetting due to lack of reminders, now that restrictions are being lifted, some dental surgeries are reporting waiting lists of 3 years.
Around 32% of people reported disruptions to their usual dental hygiene habits during the pandemic and, after being away for so long, some might not return to their regular dentist. It’s important to remember that visiting a dental surgery is safe during the pandemic, and there are numerous steps in place to protect both you and your dentist.
With restrictions starting to ease, and mask-wearing soon to become a thing of the past, now is the time to start focusing on your smile so that you can show it off once it is not hidden behind a mask! Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t delay your dental appointment.
Catch Problems Early
Dental problems don’t vanish on their own and it is important to detect any issues early on. This is to prevent any further damage and to avoid developing infections or abscesses, which may then lead to further complications such as root canal, crown or tooth extraction.
Our teeth are bad at letting us know there are problems and usually, by the time your teeth and gums are hurting, the issue is usually quite advanced. Dental diseases are very progressive and, if this isn’t managed in time, these issues can go from small and easy to treat problems, to one which is very complex and requires a lot of treatment.
Your Safety Is Paramount
Safety has always been a top priority in dental surgeries, but now so more than ever. In pre-pandemic times, dentists will have worn protective aprons, gloves and glasses and have been using protective clothing for decades. Now, this has been increased to include masks and face shields and dental surgeries have added extra safety precautions. These include the closing of waiting rooms, shorter appointment times and enhanced cleaning procedures.
It is said that around just 1-3% of dentists have contracted coronavirus from work, which is likely to be due to contact with coworkers, rather than patients, so it really is safer than ever to visit the dentist. Most dentists have strict covid procedures in place and will ring you before your appointment to ensure that you have no covid symptoms, or even request a negative test. They may also ask you to wear a mask whilst moving around the dental surgery, keeping a 2m distance from other patients and dentists whilst you are in the surgery.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Your mouth isn’t in its own protective bubble, so it isn’t surprising that poor oral health can affect your overall well-being. Visiting your dentist regularly not only keeps your teeth and gums in top condition, but also goes a long way to promoting good overall health. There has been a lot of research done into the link between oral health and general wellbeing, and it has been found that conditions such as diabetes can be linked directly to oral health issues, such as gum disease.
Plaque which builds up on teeth can lead to gingivitis if left untreated, which is an early stage of gum disease. Plaque is bacteria-laden and grows in the pockets around teeth, which then hardens and forms tartar. When this isn’t treated, it can lead to inflammation which causes bleeding gums and the potential loss of teeth. Some oral bacteria and gum diseases can take a toll on our overall health and wellbeing and can be linked to illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. Your dentist will likely see you more frequently than your doctor, so they can provide further insight into your health and wellbeing.
Get Cosmetic Work Done
With so many people working from home, they are now able to find the time to see their dentist and get any cosmetic work done that they’ve had in mind for a while. People tend to have fewer obligations now than they did pre-pandemic, which makes it easier to schedule dental appointments.
Corporate patients have had more time to see their dentist in and around their work schedule and any cosmetic work that requires long treatment time, or might appear unprofessional in between appointments, can now be done without worry. Things such as teeth whitening, Invisalign treatment and composite bonding, treatments which would usually take multiple lengthy appointments, disrupting the usual work day, can now be fitted in on lunch hours, or before and after work.
The ‘Zoom Effect’
Most people have dental flaws or fix-ups that bother them. Since working from home became the new norm, video calls and meetings have become all the more popular and a lot of people spend their day in and out of virtual meetings. As Zoom meetings have a screen which shows your face and surroundings, you’re essentially sat in front of a mirror during these meetings. This has then prompted the ‘Zoom Effect’, where people don’t like what they see. This has led to an increase in demand for cosmetic procedures and dental treatments, such as teeth straightening and whitening.
Some dentists have reported that patients are becoming increasingly more prepared for the easing of restrictions and, after being cooped up at home for almost a year, want to look and feel their best for when they can go out and socialise again. More patients than ever are becoming increasingly more interested in dental work and treatment, especially when it comes to teeth whiteness. Since wearing masks, a lot of people have said they miss seeing people’s facial expressions and smiles, which is part of the reason behind this increase in cosmetic dental demand.