Austin, Texas – Right now we are living in times of uncertainty. The US is getting the virus at different points of time with each large population. Also, each state, local, and government is handling the situation at different points in time. Some of them have yet to handle it at all. This can create a lot of confusion for everyone about what they are supposed to do when an emergency situation happens in the middle of a pandemic.
So, we are going to cover, what constitutes as a dental emergency and how it should be handled given the situation in Austin, Texas specifically.
The Parameters of Quarantine in Texas
Texas itself is a large state with its own resources, and code of conduct depending on which part of it you inhabit. Highly populated areas, such as Austin, Texas are much more likely to see more infection. This is because there are more people there that can come into contact with one another.
As of March 13, 2020, the government of Texas, under state law allowed doctors to issue control orders. A local news source states, ” If the authority believes someone “is ill with, has been exposed to, or is the carrier of a communicable disease,” the authority’s Medical Director, can sign an order keeping those people held inside their homes for up to 14 days.”
The general public quarantine is in place until April 13, 2020. This means that unless you are an essential business, or have an emergency, you legally have to stay at home.
Dentists, according to their official government website, are considered a healthcare facility, which falls under their definition of essential business. It is specifically worded in the official order, “… Includes caregivers, hospitals and laboratories, hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies…”
So, not only are dental offices are still running, but they are running specifically for dental emergencies. But that leaves a question.
What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?
There are a few things that can constitute as a dental emergency in Austin, TX right now. Some of it is something a person would apply to “common sense” thinking. For example, regular dental cleaning is not really an emergency situation and can be delayed given the nature of what is going on. But, what if something knocks your tooth loose? Does that count? So, instead of leaving you to all the guesswork, here are a few examples.
If part of your teeth is broken off or knocked out, during some type of trauma, then you will want to go see emergency dental services. Especially if there is any irritation and bleeding immediately after. To quote the Texas A&M news on the subject, “A tooth can fracture in a variety of different ways,” said Joe Simmons, DDS, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. “There can be trauma where the tooth or teeth are displaced or knocked out, like falling off a bike or playing basketball, or a tooth can crack after a dental procedure—like a root canal.”
If your teeth are hurting to the point where you can’t sleep and medication is not doing it for you, then you will want to see your dentist immediately. If there is difficulty breathing or swallowing on top of swelling in your jawline, that is also a sign of something more severe. A good rule of thumb to determine it is a serious infection is if it is impeding your everyday life. That makes it a grade-A emergency.
Cold sores, gingivitis, and more long term infections that don’t really impede all that much still need treatment. However, that counts as a need for medical care, not emergency care.
An oral infection is not like temperature sensitivity or a common toothache. While those count as warning signs to prevent something more severe, it doesn’t need looking at right away. But you should still be mindful to get that done when you have the right time available.
Different dental offices may vary in terms of what counts as a dental emergency. While this is a blanket statement for most things in life, everyone has different cases and situations. At the end of the day, you need to go with your gut and ask yourself if your teeth are going to put you in more danger than a virus. If the answer is “Yes,” schedule an appointment immediately. If the answer is “No”, call someone and do a consultation over the phone.