Dentistry: An Essential Service During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Sep 14, 2020 10:27:49 AM

Graphic "Dentistry is an essential service during pandemic"A healthy mouth is crucial to the health of the entire body. Dentistry is an Essential Service that must be available to the public at all times, especially during this pandemic. Dentistry and dentists are undervalued by the medical community and the population at large. This attitude was reflected in a recent recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO). The American Dental Association, the American College of Prosthodontists and other major dental organizations have released statements stating that they strongly disagree with WHO. While the dental community has always practiced stringent infection control and sterilization measures, they have greatly increased these measures to ensure patient safety.

An “Essential Business” provides products or services that customers require at all times, even during pandemics, natural disasters or community unrest. These businesses are permitted to remain open, whereas those that provide products or services that are for “comfort or entertainment” rather than “necessity” may be recommended to close.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a recommendation in August that patients should delay “routine” oral health care until there is a reduction in COVID-19 transmission rates. The last thing that people need is another reason not to go to the dentist. Well, that is exactly what the World Health Organization has done.

The fact that the health of the mouth impacts the entire body has been well documented. Research shows that there is an association between periodontal disease, tooth loss, cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. Periodontal disease can worsen lung disease and complicate diabetes. There is a link between osteoporosis and periodontal disease. Tooth loss is associated with poor nutrition and oral cancer. Read More.

The idea that you don’t need to go to the dentist unless you have a problem with a tooth is a fallacy. Tooth decay can occur in areas that are not visible. A dental examination is necessary to ensure that your teeth are healthy. Read More

Dentists identify dental conditions that contribute to serious health issues and medical health problems during oral examination. Signs of anorexia, bulimia and drug use are evident from the gum tissues and teeth. A dentist’s cone beam CT scanner can identify a range of issues from chronic sinusitis to intracranial calcifications, multiple myeloma, soft tissue masses, osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint, degenerative cervical spine, and narrowing of the airway. Oral cancer screenings are conducted at every oral hygiene visit. Early detection improves treatment outcomes. Dentists save lives!

Read More.

Dentists all over the country have increased their sterilization protocols. At Pi Dental Center, we have examined and updated our office practices, making improvements above and beyond those suggested by the Centers for Disease Control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the American Dental Association. We have improved air quality, required mask wearing, provided Level-3 N-95 face masks, used face shields, conducted frequent disinfection procedures, introduced screenings and temperature checks and enforced social distancing. Read More.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated and reaffirmed their guidance for dental settings, which still allows for the delivery of care to patients when proper precautions and safety measures are followed.

American Dental Association:

The Dental Team is Essential. The American Dental Association (ADA) affirms that the oral health workforce is essential during public health emergencies. Government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency have already acknowledged dentistry as an essential service. Dental health is a fundamental component of a person’s overall health and dentistry is a vital health care service. Oral disease can affect systemic health. Dentistry is an essential service whether it's the current pandemic, a future epidemic or a natural disaster in a particular area. People need to be able to access the full range of dental services.

American College of Prosthodontists:

The American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) joins the American Dental Association (ADA) in respectfully yet strongly disagreeing with this WHO recommendation. We assert that dental care is an essential part of an individual’s overall health. As an organization we will continue to work with the ADA on advocacy efforts to designate dentistry as an essential service. The ACP encourages members to follow CDC, ADA, and state and local health official guidance regarding patient care.

American Academy of Periodontology:

“It is well-established science that periodontal disease and systemic disease are interconnected. As a result, establishing and maintaining healthy teeth and gums is fundamental to overall health,” said Dr. Bryan Frantz, American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) president. The AAP added there is limited evidence that dental offices pose an increased risk of spreading disease, including COVID-19.

Academy of General Dentists

The Academy of General Dentists (AGD) calls dental care an essential component of the overall healthcare model and notes that dental offices are practicing enhanced safety measures to address their patient needs during this time.

“Good oral health contributes to good overall health, and any recommendations against the continuum or oral care negatively impact dental patients,” said AGD president Connie L. White, DDS. “Delaying a dental visit may create further health issues and long-term problems.”

Oral cancer is a serious health problem and the oral hygiene/exam visit is crucial for identifying oral cancer. A delayed oral hygiene visit can mean the difference between a manageable lesion to something much more serious.

Oral health problems can actually make recovery from COVID-19 more difficult. Studies have linked gum disease to COVID-19 deaths. One study by U.S. dental surgeon Dr. Shervin Molayem and South African scientist Carla Pontes suggests COVID patients with gum disease are more susceptible to a respiratory crisis known as a cytokine storm, essentially an overreaction of the body’s immune system.

“Gum disease has been linked to other breathing ailments, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so we weren’t surprised to find a link to respiratory problems with COVID-19,” Molayem said in a press release. “What shocked us was the discovery of the protein’s devastating, life-threatening impact to patients once they’re hospitalized. One tiny, inflammatory protein robbed them of their ability to breathe!”

At Pi Dental Center, we have seen evidence that gingivitis can quickly turn into periodontitis. Just since the quarantine began, we have seen tooth loss in an adolescent orthodontic patient. Patients who have missed their regularly scheduled hygiene appointments have presented with advanced caries.

Many of Pi Dental Center’s patients are in the process of completing comprehensive treatment plans. Any delay in care can lead to a setback or worsening of the patient’s dental condition.

The dental Hippocratic Oath reminds dentists that prevention is preferable to cure of disease. Shutting dentistry down during the pandemic has forced dentists to break their Hippocratic Oaths.

Dentists are essential health care workers who should be afforded early access to a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when one becomes available, stated ADA Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin. “There is little doubt that there will be a high demand for a safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine once one becomes available — and doses of the vaccine will likely have to be rationed until production can meet the demand,” Dr. O’Loughlin stated.

“The vital role that dentists play in maintaining overall health and screening for systemic disease is critical to the health of the public,” Dr. O’Loughlin said.

“Dental care is absolutely ESSENTIAL and very much necessary to maintain a healthy balance for all populations, but especially for the mature adult population who may have already lost several teeth due to bone loss and periodontal disease. These populations are the most in need of close attention to minimize inflammatory disease which can affect the cardiovascular system,” stated Thomas Balshi, DDS, FACP, PhD.

Pi Dental Center continues to utilize the highest level of PPE available with stringent sterilization protocols and has complied with all regulations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state of Pennsylvania. As dentists, Drs. Wolfinger and Slauch have taken an oath to prevent disease whenever possible. They have a special obligation to their patients. They strive to realize this oath during this pandemic. Pi Dental Center provides a safe environment for patients and staff.

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Sources:

https://decisionsindentistry.com/2020/08/ada-responds-to-who-dentistry-is-essential-healthcare-2/?inf_contact_key=9cd2de8a9995dbf19bf07a4dd5f527df16358d5485884e2f31e6019a0d26c8b0


https://decisionsindentistry.com/2020/08/paper-explores-connection-between-oral-hygiene-severity-covid/


https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/july/ada-board-of-trustees-dentistry-is-essential-health-care?utm_source=Labs.Dental+Inc.&utm_campaign=3d69664a4b-200807+Products+DaVinci_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_d94c263c04-3d69664a4b-388261518


https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2020-archive/september/ada-urges-dentists-be-offered-early-access-for-sars-cov-2-vaccine#:~:text=Washington%20%E2%80%94%20Dentists%20are%20essential%20health,and%20Medicine%20panel%20Sept.%202.


https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/6778-covid-19-patients-with-periodontitis-face-greater-risk-of-dying


https://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/industrynews/item/6797-organized-dentistry-disagrees-with-who-covid-19-recommendations?hq_e=el&hq_m=2091329&hq_l=5&hq_v=93f24336ae

 

Tags: dental health, oral health

Can Wearing A Face Mask Affect Dental Health?

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Aug 15, 2020 12:00:00 PM

Face Mask image for blog called "Can wearing a face mask affect dental health?"Complaints about wearing a face mask are common and frequent.

Now many dentists believe that a new issue related to dental health has surfaced. It has been aptly named “Mask Mouth.”

Wearing a mask for several hours each day may cause dry mouth, which in turn can lead to bad breath, and possibly cavities and gum disease. Mouth breathing dries the tissue of the mouth, decreases saliva and increases the build-up of bacteria. Many people breathe through their mouths instead of their noses when they wear face masks.

Saliva helps to protect the teeth and prevents cavities. Less saliva means more risk for cavities.

Left untreated, gum disease (periodontal disease) can eventually result in cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart attack.

An impromptu poll of friends and colleagues found that some actually did breathe through their mouths while wearing face masks. They mentioned that both their mouth and throat often felt dry.

The doctors at Pi Dental Center recommend that patients continue to wear masks but take the following measures:

  • Brush regularly with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Drink water frequently. Use a straw so that you don’t have to remove your mask to do so. Set a goal to drink at least 8 cups of water each day.
  • Avoid beverages that can dehydrate, such as coffee and alcohol. Use only alcohol-free dental mouth rinses.
  • To help ensure that your teeth remain healthy, limit sugary foods.
  • Schedule your regular dental hygiene and check-up visit.
  • Awareness is important. Be aware of how you are breathing. If you find that you breathe through your mouth while wearing a mask, remind yourself to breathe through your nose.

In addition to dental health problems caused from wearing a face mask, there has been an increase in dental problems due to the shutdown of dental offices.

Dr. Wolfinger states, “I have seen an increase in problems related to poor oral hygiene recently, which I attribute mainly to the fact that many patients have missed their normally scheduled oral hygiene and exam visits as a result of the government shutdown.”

Dolly Kituskie, a dental hygienist at Pi Dental Center has heard many of her patients complain about wearing masks, saying they are itchy and uncomfortable. She has also noticed that some of her patients’ home care has been poor during quarantine. She contributes this lax home care to “increased stress about the whole situation. They are not doing their home care as often or as well.”

Dr. Slauch said, “Wearing a face mask is essential as our society navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. Although our lives are upside down at the moment, keep in mind that routine dental hygiene and maintenance should never be ignored.”

While there is no scientific research that correlates mask wearing to dental decay/gum disease, dentists have identified the phenomenon. What is important is to continue to practice good oral hygiene.

Pi Dental Center advocates wearing a face mask in public. Continue to practice rigorous oral hygiene, drink plenty of fluids and see your dentist regularly. We have implemented a wide array of protocols to provide a safe environment for our patients and staff. If you are due for routine dental care or are in need of a dental visit, please call our office at 215-646-6334.

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Further reading: The Truth Behind the Mask

Tags: dental health, healthy teeth, oral health

Pi Dental Reopens Per PA Governor Directive

Posted by Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD, FACP on May 14, 2020 10:56:44 AM

Dr. Robert Slauch, Dental Assistant, Amy and Dr. Glenn Wolfinger Wear Face Shields, Masks and Scrubs

Dear Pi Patients,

I hope this letter finds you well.  I am happy to report that we reopened the office on Monday, May 11.  My staff and I are looking forward to seeing you in the office! 

We have diligently followed directives of the Governor which has kept us safe and healthy.  To ensure all patients and staff remain safe in our office, I have utilized this time off researching dentistry in the world of Covid 19.  I’ve attended webinars and consulted with experts in various specialties including infection control, virology and air quality. 

While we will continue to follow the same stringent disinfection and sterilization procedures that have kept us safe for decades, I have implemented additional safety precautions.  When you come to the office, in addition to the usual Personal Protective Equipment, disinfection and sterilization procedures that we have always utilized, you can also have confidence in the following newly initiated protocols:

  • Requirement of all staff, patients and visitors to utilize masks while in the office as mandated by the Governor.
  • For increased protection, we’ve added glass partitions to the reception area.
  • To improve air quality, all HVAC units have been updated and individual HEPA air purification systems will be utilized in all exam rooms and the reception area.
  • We have increased the level of protection of our surgical masks by upgrading to level 3 N95 respirator masks.
  • We have invested in new equipment including industrial strength face shields, which can be used as a supplement during certain procedures, chair side high evacuation(suction) systems to reduce aerosols when necessary and ultraviolet sterilization wands to treat surfaces after routine disinfection.
  • Frequently touched surfaces in the elevator, reception area and bathroom will be disinfected regularly. After disinfection, the UV sterilization wand will also be utilized.
  • To assess the risk level for virus transmission, all patients and staff will be screened. This screening will include various health related questions and temperature taking.
  • As much as possible in the dental setting, social distancing will be followed.
  • We will continue to have hand sanitizer available to utilize and encourage everyone to wash their hands often.

My patients and staff are of utmost importance to me.  As a result, I have taken a very detailed examination of office protocols, making improvements above and beyond those suggested by the Centers for Disease Control, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, The Pennsylvania Department of Health and the American Dental Association.  While these processes may seem excessive, I feel they are worth the time and financial investment to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.  With your cooperation in strictly following all protocols as directed in the office, I am confident that we can safely address your dental needs.

Sincerely,

Glenn J. Wolfinger, DMD FACP

Tags: dental health, Medical and Dental Health, pi dental care center

Prosthodontist Dr. Rob Slauch Joins Pi Dental

Posted by Pi Dental Center on Jul 13, 2019 12:45:00 PM

Rob Slauch, DDS, MDSc Prosthodontist at Pi Dental CenterPi Dental Center is pleased to announce that Robert Slauch, DDS, MDSc will join our long established prosthodontic practice on July 22, 2019. As a prosthodontist, Dr. Slauch will provide quality restorative patient treatment including placement of dental implants, esthetic crowns, bridges, veneers and state-of-the-art digital dentures.

Dr. Slauch is not a newcomer to the Pi Dental Center. Since 2012, he has been engaged in scientific research with the Pi Team and published in several dental journals. In addition, he has achieved recognition from the American College of Prosthodontists and the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics for his research.

The Pi Team has been eagerly awaiting Dr. Slauch’s full-time presence. Dr. Glenn Wolfinger, Director of the Pi Dental Center, expresses his excitement to fill the vacancy of recently retired Dr. Thomas Balshi, the Founder of Pi. “I have personally witnessed Dr. Slauch’s professional development and believe he will be a future leader in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Our patients will quickly benefit from his gentle and compassionate nature along with his prosthodontic skill.”

Dr. Slauch grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and attended Perkiomen Valley High School.

Dr. Slauch received a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University, where he also played baseball. He earned his DDS from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and completed both his residency in Prosthodontics and his Master’s Degree from the University of Connecticut Health Center in July 2019. He is a candidate for board certification by the American Board of Prosthodontics and has already successfully completed the first part of the board examination.

He is also a 2019 finalist in the American College of Prosthodontists John J. Sharry Research Competition.

“I am beyond excited to be joining a practice that has so much history and has made so many contributions to the specialty of Prosthodontics and to implant dentistry,” says Dr. Slauch.

“It is my goal to continue this tradition by providing excellent dental care in a warm, friendly, outgoing environment. I look forward to being involved with this great community and with helping people find real joy in their smiles.”

Pi Dental Center, located in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, has been on the cutting edge of prosthodontic care, research, education and product development since 1986. It has been a benchmark from which many doctors have taken their lead.

An Open House is planned for September to introduce Dr. Slauch to the community.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Slauch and read his curriculum vitae.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Slauch, please call 215-646-6334 or click the link below:

Schedule an Appointment

What's a prosthodontist? Click here to find out.

Tags: dental implants, dental health, prosthodontist

What your dentist needs to know

Posted by Chris Raines on Jun 19, 2019 2:22:50 PM

A Word Cloud illustration showing the words used in blog, "What your dentist needs to know."At Pi Dental Center, our goal is to deliver beautiful smiles and make your office visit as comprehensive and worthwhile as possible. In order to provide you with effective dental care, we need a complete dental and medical history. Here are some of the things that we will need to know when you become a patient.

 

Your Complete Dental and Medical Health History:

What dental treatment did you receive in the past and were your dental experiences positive?

Are you a dental phobic? Let us know if you have anxiety in the dental office. We are experienced in successfully treating patients with all levels of dental phobia.

Following dental treatment, you may need a prescription for pain relievers, so we need to know any medical allergies.

Your medical history impacts your dental condition. For example, acid reflux can erode tooth enamel. People who have diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease, cavities and tooth loss.

What medications are you taking? Stomach ulcer meds can cause dry mouth and blood pressure lowering meds can cause inflammation, bleeding and ulceration of the gums.

Do you smoke? Smoking has a negative impact on your entire body including your mouth. If you smoke, we highly recommend that you quit. We can provide helpful information to help you quit smoking.

Your Lifestyle and Habits:

What are your dietary and social habits? Do you have a sweet tooth?

Alcohol consumption and drug use can have a serious impact on your dental health. Soda consumption increases acid levels in the mouth.

What are your oral hygiene habits? Perhaps we can improve your hygiene regimen.

Your Goals and Expectations:

Knowing your goals and expectations will help us to provide you with a personally customized treatment plan. What are your goals and expectations for your dental treatment? What do you expect your teeth to look like when treatment is completed? What is your budget and are you considering financing treatment?

If you are planning to have dental surgery, do you have a support system at home? On the day of surgery, will someone be available to transport you?

On the day of treatment, let us know how you are feeling. Knowing your state of mind will help us to make your visit pleasant.

The prosthodontists at Pi Dental Center deliver captivating smiles so that you can smile with confidence. Call to discuss your dental needs and schedule your dental appointment for a diagnostic evaluation. We look forward to helping you.

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Tags: oral hygiene, restorative dentistry, dental and medical health, dental health, restorative dental care, teeth, doctor patient relationship, prosthodontists, treatment plan, dental appointment

Show Teeth Some Love On Valentine’s Day

Posted by Chris Raines on Feb 14, 2019 1:37:25 PM

Show your teeth some love on Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day is the time to give the perfect gift to your loved one or to treat yourself. While flowers and candy have always been acceptable traditional gifts, perhaps it’s time to try something a little different. People spend billions of dollars on gifts every Valentine’s Day. The gift of a healthy smile can have a long-lasting benefit that’s worth the investment.

The average person is planning to spend more than $140 on traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, according to Prosper Insights & Analytics. People typically buy jewelry, flowers, candy, and greeting cards for spouses, significant others, children, parents, classmates, teachers and themselves.

You really can’t measure the value of a healthy mouth. Elle Macpherson revealed in a recent interview, “I’ve learned that a good smile, good teeth, good hearing, good skin and a good mood are worth a thousand injectables and Botox and facial masks.”

Tooth Whitening and Veneers are cosmetic dental procedures that can improve a smile and help to build confidence. While crowns and dental implant restorations can also revive the appearance of the teeth, they can also restore dental health. The gift of an routine oral hygiene and checkup visit can be helpful to a student on a limited budget.

This Valentine’s Day, give the gift of dental health or show your teeth some love.

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Tags: dental health