Dentists Play Catch-Up with Expanded Hours After COVID-19 Restrictions
Nearly one year after the initial COVID-19 shutdowns, a Plymouth dental clinic says things are starting to normalize.
“It’s very difficult to take almost three months of patients and put them into an already full schedule that was pre-booked six months prior,” said Dr. Bobbi Augustyn, owner of Camp Smile in Plymouth. “We expanded our hours, we shortened our lunches to try to accommodate patient demands and needs.”
Camp Smile is a pediatric dental clinic that had to shut down last year on March 17. It reopened about two months later on May 14.
The American Dental Association reports that dental spending declined as a result of shutdowns in 2020. Spending dropped an estimated 38 percent in 2020, with an additional 20 percent slump expected this year.
But at Plymouth’s Camp Smile, the dental office put a number of safety protocols in place and patients are returning.
“I’d say the majority of our patient base has had some reservations, but then have come and feel extremely safe,” Dr. Augustyn said. “And so for that, I’m very thankful.”
Maintaining good oral health
Meanwhile, dentists encourage people to maintain good oral health during the pandemic.
Children should start taking care of their teeth early. During infancy, parents should clean the baby’s gums with water and a soft cloth. Once the child is age 2, parents should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a dab of fluoride toothpaste.
If patients have to delay a trip to the dentist due to COVID-19, dentists say children should remember to brush their teeth (and tongue) for up to two minutes after meals and before bedtime using a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss daily using a water flosser, rinse for 30 seconds with a mouthwash, stay hydrated to avoid issues with dry mouth, and limit sugary snacks and drinks.