Pandemic Prompts Half of All Americans to Postpone General Dental Checkups

Dentistry Today

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than half of Americans to put off general dental checkups, according to an American Association of Endodontists (AAE) survey. Also, the pandemic is taking its toll on the daily dental hygiene routines of those working or studying remotely, the AAE said. For example:

  • 31% were snacking more on sweets
  • 28% didn’t schedule or forgot to schedule a dental visit
  • One in four said they waited until later in the morning to brush their teeth
  • 21% didn’t brush in the morning at all
  • 24% are flossing less frequently
  • 23% said they aren’t flossing

Also, millennials more frequently reported dental disruptions, with 43% indicating that working from home or attending virtual classes from home led to disruptions to their usual dental hygiene habits during the pandemic lockdown.

The pandemic is causing a major disruption in Americans’ dental habits, the AAE said, leading to more serious tooth problems. Fortunately, the AAE continued, it appears that much of the public understands the importance of facing serious dental issues head-on.

Even with the pandemic, 60% said that experiencing tooth pain that won’t go away would lead them to make a dental appointment. Also, four out of five of those surveyed said they would prefer to have a root canal to save a tooth instead of an extraction.

The AAE also said that endodontists are the greatest ally of those who suffer from a toothache. The organization also said that visits to the endodontist are extremely safe, as these clinicians practice the utmost caution and disinfection protocols. Even at the height of the shutdown last year, the AAE said, most endodontic practices remained open to safely treat dental emergencies.

To keep emergency rooms clear, the AAE said, patients should continue to seek endodontic treatment instead of dialing 911.

“If you’re suffering with a toothache that wakes you up out of a sound sleep at night, or because you’re eating hot or cold food, you need an endodontist,” said Dr. Alan H. Gluskin, president of the AAE. “You should not delay treatment.”

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