COVID-19 infections are no joke. They are insidious at times, and also catastrophic. The partnership of biotechnology and clinical care has been really beneficial in a “counterstrike” against the ravages of the disease. The rapid and robust sharing of information and research has given us crucial knowledge and strategies to combat acute problems, as well as the Long COVID challenges.
Oral health sits squarely within the short- and long-term processes of COVID-19. Here at our clinic, we’re still upholding sound prevention and infection control standards. We are also aware that anyone who has been affected by the disease may have a new set of challenges to address.
We’re fortunate to have access to a great and growing knowledge base to respond to the new factors like fatigue, respiratory distress, sensory changes, psychiatric changes, and memory loss when we plan care for our patients.
There are a few other dental issues that are becoming increasingly more prevalent and consistent in COVID-19 patients. Oral ulcers, similar to apthous ulcers can be recurrent and arrive in singles or multiples for some patients. We have found that laser biostimulation has helped reduce or eliminate the symptoms, eruption, length of persistence, and recurrence of the ulcers.
Muscle tension headaches, jaw, and neck muscle pain have become more common as the stress events of COVID trigger bruxism (clenching and grinding). And we have built a greater number of bruxism oral appliances in the past 2 years than in the past 10 combined.
The classic inflammation problem in dentistry–gum disease–isn’t exempt from the COVID era. COVID sufferers, both short and long, are demonstrating a hyperinflammatory response to a lot of diseases. Periodontitis is one of them. Patients are showing us that they have more difficulty controlling gum disease, and have an increased severity of their infection when it resurfaces. We are helping patients get better control of the disease with laser disinfection and tissue healing, and seeing them a little more frequently for disinfection/cleaning visits.
Lastly, we have seen the strong correlations between the severity of periodontal disease and the outcomes of COVID patients. We are seeing as the severity of the periodontal disease increases, the frequency and severity of the “COVID arc” of illness increases too. We also found when patients were admitted to the ICU, or even suffered death due to COVID complications, that those patients more often showed signs of significant periodontal disease.
More details can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8763038/
We are ready and waiting to help you and your family stay as healthy as possible for the long haul! Call us at 206-362-5400.