We work infinitely closer to the meter of distance that must be maintained with people. We also do it in the mouth, in contact with saliva and other mucous membranes. If a patient has coronavirus and coughs us, the danger is much greater,” explains the spokesperson for the Madrid College of DentistsBruno Baracco. To make matters worse, the shortage of medical supplies also affects them. “It is difficult to find PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), the market is saturated and many of us have donated ours to the health personnel of hospitals, who need them most,” he adds. In short, a host of circumstances that has led the Ministry of Health to clarify that dental centers will only attend emergencies. But what is considered an emergency? These are the only four circumstances, decreed by the General Council of Dentists of Spain , for which our dentist will open the doors of his consultation.
An acute infection of the mouth
“The symptoms of an infection are usually inflammation, which may or may not have exudate —that is, it may produce secretions such as pus—; a flush in the area, which becomes red because blood is concentrated in it to carry defenses and the vessels dilate (this same mechanism makes it warmer to the touch), pain and fever are other signs of an infection, “says the specialist.
Too much pain
This circumstance “can occur for different reasons, such as an infection or inflammation. An analgesic can reduce discomfort and an anti-inflammatory the swelling. In case these medications are taken and there is no notable improvement, this is when we should call. This occurs because taking antibiotics, which must be prescribed by a specialist, is likely to be necessary to alleviate the problem, “says Baracco.
The bleeding is unstoppable
“It is not that our mouth bleeds a little when we brush our teeth or because of a chronic pathology such as gingivitis (an inflammation of the gums), but an important bleeding that does not stop like that which can be given by a very strong bite”, clarifies the expert, who adds that “if we have made a cut, the first thing we must do is apply pressure. This leads to hemostasis, that is, to control and stop the bleeding. But when the cut is very deep or there is some type of difficulty in coagulating (for example, by some medicine that is being taken) some stitch may be necessary “.
Trauma cannot wait
“We are referring to a blow to the face —in the area of the mouth—, by which we have been able to move or break our teeth, or there is a cut to the lip. In this case, it must be a complicated fracture, which is when the tooth breaks to the point of the nerve and generates a lot of pain. When it is not complicated it is when it occurs in the enamel (the outermost part), which does not generate discomfort, or in the dentin area (a slightly deeper area located before reaching the nerve), which can produce sensitivity that will disappear as days go by. Only if it lasts for several days should we call. In the case of cuts, it happens as with hemorrhages: they must be very deep and the bleeding does not stop. To avoid this type of situation, it is also necessary to pay attention to the measure of staying at home and being as calm as possible, so as not to saturate the health services with other emergencies other than the virus, “says Baracco.
Don’t forget to call before going to the clinic
If fortune is not on our side and we have one of the four emergencies, we cannot leave the house and go directly to the consultation either. It could be closed. “The clinic does not have to be open or there is anyone working at that time. There are even some dentists who will not attend us because they may be over 60, they have run out of PID and this implies a higher risk,” explains Baracco. So the first thing we should do when dealing with a dental problem is to call and it will be the specialist who determines if it really is an emergency or not. “In the event that our usual center is closed, we can contact the College of Dentists of the population in which we live.”
During this call, the specialists will give us a questionnaire to give us the appropriate indications . “It may happen that, in addition to commenting on the dental problem, he mentions symptoms such as cough, fever or loss of smell and taste. In this case, we would refer him to the attention contact number for the coronavirus,” says Baracco.
In case the appointment is granted, there will also be a reception protocol in the consultation established by the General Council of Dentists of Spain. As far as possible, only dentists will be working, “there will be neither receptionists nor assistants.” In addition, the patient must go alone if it is a minor , who can go with only one person. And everyone should rub their hands well – for at least 20 seconds – with hydroalcoholic gel that will be provided in the clinic.