BY LILYA HOROWITZ
Another year has flown by, and if you are a parent, you have taken into account all the things that did not happen as planned in 2020. Things like family vacations and celebrations, you may not have gotten a haircut for yourself recently or gone to the gym in the last 10 months. Many of these things were probably beyond your control, and some are still not possible due to safety restrictions. However, one thing necessary that you may have neglected last year is taking care of your family’s dental health.
Your oral health mirrors your overall physical health, and many times, it is your dentist that may spot or diagnose a problem before your physician. Your mouth contains evidence of inflammation, stress, sleep deprivation, gastrointestinal issues, and many more things beyond your typical achy tooth.
For children, early orthodontic intervention may be the key to prevent a lifetime of sleep and breathing issues, as well as unfavorable facial and airway development. It is important to have a dentist check your teeth regularly so that we can catch minor problems before they turn into larger ones that often become much more expensive to fix. Having a plan to keep your teeth healthy with consistent care and dental visits will ensure that you have a happy, healthy smile for the rest of your life. This is why going to the dentist for you, and your family has never been more important.
Is Going to the Dentist Safe?
This is a common question and concern. Dental offices have always been at the forefront of infection control and safety, long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since aerosols are produced from most dental procedures, most dentists have already maintained strict infection control protocols. The adjustments we have had to make due to the pandemic have been relatively easy to get used to. A study by the American Dental Association found the COVID-19 rate among dentists is less than 1%.1
Some things you may want to look for is a dental office that clean, modern and has embraced modern technology to make dental care for your family safe, convenient, and easy. Surgical grade air-filtration units, strict PPE, and social distancing protocols should also be a must when looking for a new dental home.
As of January 4, 2021, dental practices of all types became eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.2 If you have any specific concerns about a particular office and cannot get a clear picture through their website, there should be an easy way to contact that office available to address your concerns. If you find that you are being brushed off or given unclear answers, it is probably a good idea to find an office that aligns better with your needs.
Find a Dentist in Your Neighborhood
I am a big believer in supporting your local businesses, and now that many of us are working from home, it may be the perfect time to find a dentist right in your neighborhood. It is always nice to avoid taking public transportation, especially with kids in tow, and it always makes it easier to return for any follow-up visits and stay on track with regular ones.
I don’t know about you, but physically picking up the phone and speaking to another human to make an appointment for something is a significant barrier in me making this appointment. For this exact reason, 24/7 online scheduling is a big plus in my book for any business I would like to use. As a mom, sometimes the only times I am thinking clearly without outside voices or an avalanche of thoughts may be at 9 pm after the kids go to sleep (or maybe 5 am), but it’s definitely never at a time when I would realistically expect an actual person to answer the phone. It also can allow you to reschedule that appointment to accommodate any changes easily.
There have been some changes in protocols at the dentist, and you may have some questions. You may want to get those questions answered in advance. You may also want to be able to have your new patient paperwork completed before and have any dental insurance verified before you bring the entire family. Finding an office that implements virtual consultations, paperless online forms, and is staffed with a great patient care coordinator to walk you through the process is important for a smooth and seamless visit.
Find an Office that Can Care for the Whole Family
As a parent, I find it much easier for me to use the same healthcare provider for everyone in the household for routine visits. This is why you may want to take advantage of seeing a family dentist that sees children and adults. Pediatric dentists do cater exclusively to the younger patient population it is up to you to decide what will work the best for you and kiddos. Family dental offices like ours offer safe family visits, where you can book all your appointments back to back and feel comfortable knowing that at the time of your visit, your family will be the only patients we have in the entire office.
There are televisions on the ceiling with wireless noise-canceling headphones to entertain and distract both children and adults, as well as age-specific snacks and goodie bags to take with you when you leave. Modern practices work with you to verify all insurance and new patient paperwork and answer any questions about your visit virtually so that from the moment you arrive, you will be led straight to the treatment room with no time in the waiting area.
We welcome parents to come into the office with their children at the time of their appointments if this makes you and your children feel more comfortable. After your visit, knowing that offices offer touchless payment solutions and can answer any follow-up questions that you may have via text and email to avoid any extra phone time creates additional peace of mind.
Life as a parent in NYC is not easy, and keeping your family’s dental health in check should be simple. Getting everyone in your family back on track with their dental health is a must for beautiful and healthy smiles in 2021.
This story originally appeared on our sister site newyorkfamily.com.