Good dental hygiene as important as ever, despite pandemic

DENTAL HEALTH: Chief executive and principal dentist Dr Vyla Ellis with the clinic's therapy dog, Queenie.
DENTAL HEALTH: Chief executive and principal dentist Dr Vyla Ellis with the clinic's therapy dog, Queenie.

Various fields of work have been massively affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many forced to adapt during these unprecedented times.

Despite the changes, good dental hygiene is just as important as ever, and dental clinics across the region have worked hard to continuously provide their essential service.

Keith's Country Living Dentistry is one of many dental clinics that have seen a reduced number of patients throughout the last couple of months, but attendance is starting to rise.

Chief executive and principal dentist Dr Vyla Ellis said dental clinics were restricted to emergency care only for a period of five weeks in March and April.

"Once restrictions were lifted we found that our patients were keen to come in and complete the treatment that had been postponed," Dr Ellis said.

"In recent weeks, with the situation unfolding in Victoria, we have noticed a growing concern in the community with some patients delaying their dental care."

While some are choosing to delay making dental appointments, Dr Ellis stated the clinic's dental team are highly trained in infection control, and their standards were extremely high prior to the pandemic.

The clinic has implemented strict hygiene procedures to ensure any patient entering the building poses no risk to staff and fellow patients.

Dr Ellis said the main changes for the Keith-based clinic has been screening patients for COVID symptoms before they arrive.

There has also been increased cleaning of high-touch points in the clinic's waiting room, the removal of toys and magazines, and reducing the number of people in the building to allow for social distancing.

Despite the trip to the dentist looking slightly different to what many people are used to, the importance of good dental hygiene hasn't changed.

"We don't know how long we are going to be living with COVID, and because of this it is important that we all continue to look after our general health and this includes our oral health," Dr Ellis said.

"Good oral health is essential for your general health."

Dr Ellis reassured residents that making a dental appointment doesn't have to be daunting, with the clinic providing the safest possible conditions.

"Patients can be confident that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe in our clinic," Dr Ellis said.

Even if people decide to hold off on taking a trip to the dentist, there are routines that residents can follow to ensure their dental health remains immaculate.

"We recommend minimising sugar intake, brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth daily with floss or similar and seeing your dentist every six months for a check-up," Dr Ellis said.