It would be easy to assume that dental practices would be suffering during a pandemic that requires people to wear masks and social distance, but many dentists are busier than ever and it might take you longer to get an appointment.
“We have been quite busy -- more than before the pandemic,” Dr. Tam Le said.
Le, the head of the Connecticut State Dental Association, said 99% of all dental practices in Connecticut have reopened. While they are busier than ever they are not seeing as many patients because of the COVID-19 precautions.
“Due to the protocols in terms of staggering patients we actually have to see less number of patients per day for maintaining the safety of patients and staff as well,” Le said.
Patients will have to wait a little longer for routine care.
“Based on our survey it also showed that 75% of patients have returned to our office, seeing us on a regular basis,” Le said.
Dentists have adjusted to pre-screening patients, screening staff, charting appointments and eliminating the waiting room.
“Now that we’ve reopened again we are getting our doors broken down with people who need this care,” Dr. Steve Lipman said.
Lipman practices in Windsor. He said they are seeing patients with all sorts of dental problems that could be related to the pandemic.
“People seem to be one, possibly clenching and breaking teeth, like crazy. They’re not sleeping well. We’re seeing a lot of effects of that. They’re not getting quality sleep that could increase the prevalence of grinding and clenching your teeth,” Lipman said.
At the moment the data is anecdotal, but it seems to be a trend.
“Whatever the cause there’s tremendous need. We’re seeing it. It’s just incredible,” Le said.
Le said he’s seeing more cracked teeth too.
“I personally in our office certainly have seen more of these cracked teeth,” Le said.
Le said it’s still too soon for them to have any data on whether the pandemic is causing stress that results in cracked teeth or tooth grinding.