I’m wondering if the coronavirus pandemic will impact or should impact my appointments for dental implants. To be clear, I started the process more than a year ago and I had all sorts of procedures already done. We started with bone grafting and had the implant placed already. I’m coming due for the appointment where I can (finally!) get the crown added to the top and have a full smile again. I was really looking forward to it. But, as I understand it, all non-essential appointments are supposed to be a no-go right now. Technically speaking, I’ve been living without these teeth for ages, so it’s not urgent. Should I reschedule my dental appointment a few months out or is it okay for me to go in for my dental implants now?
This is a great question. It seems everyone these days is trying to figure out what qualifies as essential and non-essential excursions during the coronavirus outbreak.
You Should Skip Non-Essential and Elective Visits
You’re on the right track with exploring what’s really essential. The latest from the CDC indicates anything that’s not urgent be postponed until the outbreak subsides. The problem is, they don’t actually outline what they consider to be non-essential. That’s why a whole lot of companies that provide personal services, like salons, are keeping their doors open, depending on the state you live in. Some states have even closed down barbers.
If you had an issue like a toothache, this wouldn’t even be a question. You’d need that taken care of right away. Ignoring a toothache, which could be a sign of infection, can be fatal. This is why they are considered dental emergencies. However, this isn’t a toothache and, as you noted, you’ve been in the healing phase for quite some time. Waiting for a few weeks wouldn’t hurt.
Dental Implants Restore Form and Function
On the flip side, dental implants aren’t just about making your smile look nice (although they do that too). They’re replacements for your natural teeth. Chances are, you’ve had to change your eating habits and perhaps more since you lost those teeth. Are you able to eat a normal, healthy diet without them? If not, then you’re also impacting your health and immune system. There are lots of nuances like this in the decision of whether to keep your appointment or not, but don’t assume that, just because you’ve been waiting, that it’s a good idea to keep waiting.
Talk to Your Dentist
The reason why the CDC and other agencies are so vague is because each case is different. What’s urgent for one person might not be for another. In your case, an argument could be made for either decision—to keep or not keep the appointment. Your dentist knows your situation better than anyone else. As such, he’ll be the best source of personalized information for you. Additionally, each state is in a different place with this virus and will need different levels of lock-down as a result.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.