ISDS: Dental Care Safe, Necessary During COVID-19 Pandemic

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SPRINGFIELD — Safety matters, now more than ever. When you go to the dentist, you need to know you will be safe during the pandemic. The association representing dentists has some new tools to set you at ease.

The Illinois State Dental Society has two new announcements out today. One offers a COVID-19 Toolkit for patient education about pandemic safety in dental offices, and the other reminding students to get dental checks before school starts.

Read both below:

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause great concern and uncertainty around Illinois, dental offices are reopening and seeing patients with a clear message: your safety is our No. 1 priority as we work to improve your health.

The Illinois State Dental Society, representing dentists and dental offices statewide, has been working closely with its members and Gov. JB Pritzker’s Administration since the pandemic hit the state in March. Initially, dental offices were closed to all but urgent or emergency needs, but they have since reopened.

ISDS has worked with its members to develop detailed safety protocols and patient education to ensure patients feel safe for visits, and any issues that might arise are dealt with appropriately. ISDS has developed an online COVID-19 educational toolkit for patients, dental offices, policymakers and the general public covering a number of important topics:

  • Why dental care is necessary during the pandemic, as gum disease and other oral health problems can become much more serious and widespread if left untreated
  • Why dental care is safe during the pandemic, with offices taking detailed steps to sanitize and sterilize equipment and protect patients
  • What patients can expect when they return for visits, from a new look for waiting rooms and dental chairs to medical precautions for each patient
  • Where to get dental care if you do not have a dentist

The ISDS toolkit has been developed largely with resources provided throughout the pandemic by the society’s parent organization, the American Dental Association, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While ISDS and its dental members encourage all Illinoisans who are overdue for care to get an appointment soon, some younger Illinoisans must do so by law. A new state law that took effect last year requires all incoming high school freshmen to get a dental exam before school starts, joining incoming kindergarteners, second graders and sixth graders, in an effort to promote strong oral care as children get older. (See more in the release below).

All of these topics are discussed in more detail on the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Eric Larson, executive director of ISDS, said Illinois dentists are seeing overwhelmingly positive response as patients realize dental offices are focused on providing the safest experience possible for their return during the pandemic. The online resources and in-person experience should help ease any concerns Illinoisans have about seeing the dentist again, and help ensure dental care remains an essential part of Illinois’ public health plan moving forward.

"Our members shut down their offices to all but the most urgent needs this spring to do our part to fight the spread of coronavirus," Larson said. "But what we have learned since then is that Illinoisans cannot and must not go months without seeing their dentist. "Dental offices have always embraced the most stringent protocols to keep our offices clean and safe for all patients, because the public health risks are too great when you’re providing this kind of close-contact care. We are proud of the diligence our dental offices have shown to understand patients’ concerns and address them head on.

"We encourage incoming high school freshmen to follow the law and see their dentist before school begins in the coming weeks. We ask anyone with concerns about returning to their dentist to take time to review the toolkit and then reach out to their dentist to see how they are working to protect everyone they see. The sooner everyone can get back on their normal oral health schedule with their dental professional, the better our public health will be for it."

Dental Exams Required for Kindergarteners, 2nd, 6th and 9th Graders

An Illinois law that took effect last year now requires children to have a dental exam performed by a dentist before starting high school. Previously, Public Act 100-0829 applied only to children in kindergarten, second and sixth grades, but has expanded to cover students entering ninth grade in public, private and parochial schools. First-time freshmen were added to make sure more young people have proper oral health as they take a big step in their education.

"Our children are our most precious resource, and every child deserves to enter school free of dental pain or problems. Unfortunately, tooth decay and dental disease are a leading cause of decreased school performance and lost school days," states Dr. Christopher Larsen, President of the Illinois State Dental Society.

"It is dangerous to your child’s health to postpone dental treatment," Dr. Larsen adds. "With the connection between oral health and overall school performance, dentists need to be able to detect problems before they affect a student’s attendance, grades, and overall health." To find an ISDS member dentist in your area, visit the Find A Dentist search in the "For the Public" at www.ISDS.org.

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26-Delivered

via Springfield, IL Patch

August 4, 2020 at 09:18AM

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