UTICA, N.Y. - All healthcare professionals have been drastically affected by the coronavirus, and that includes dentists.
Dr. Salina Suy of Zalatan Dental says that dentists are at a higher risk because of aerosols.
In dentistry, aerosols are tiny particles or droplets derived from blood, saliva, tooth debris or plaque that can remain in the air which can put dentists and other patients at a high risk of contracting the virus.
"In dentistry we generate a lot of aerosols when we work. So our profession, actually, is one of the most at-risk professions during this crisis. It really puts us at risk and were trying to mitigate the spread of it," says Suy.
On March 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo constituted only emergency dental procedures as essential. What consitutes a dental emergency?
"The most evident dental emergency is trauma. So that's if you fall off your bike, break your teeth, something crazy happens. You definitely want to call in for that. For cases that swell up the patients whole face, or can pinch their air ways, these are true dental emergencies. We have to make sure we're taking care of patients who need that care," Suy said.
What about patients that aren't experiencing severe symptoms?
Suy says, "Now we're recommending that all non-urgent care be postponed. For patients with mild pain, depending on how bad it is, go ahead and call your dentist. It doesn't hurt to call. That communication with your doctor is really important. Right now in my office, patients call, you let us know what's going on, just like facetime. Everyone needs to brush, everyone needs to floss, so that we can prevent things from happening."
Suy anticipates that until dentists have access to rapid coronavirus tests, regular check-ups may be delayed even longer once we get back to some normalcy because of the aerosols.