Should I Go to the Dentist When I’m Sick?

DentistThe importance of regular check-ups at the dentist's office cannot be overstated. However, if you are sick, you will likely question whether you should go to the dentist's office. Here are some of the top considerations to think about when deciding whether to keep your dental appointment or cancel it due to sickness.

The Degree of Sickness

If you have a headache, feel a bit weak or have a tummy ache, you can likely keep your dental appointment. Consider taking pain relief medication prior to the appointment. However, if you have the flu, pneumonia or another serious illness, cancel your appointment. If you have a surprise ailment like a migraine headache and you struggle to manage the pain, you should probably cancel the appointment. Otherwise, you will likely find it difficult to sit in the chair for treatment. In general, a patient with strep throat, a fever, breathing issues, the flu or cold sores around the mouth should remain at home until the problem dissipates.

Consider the Possibility of Spreading Illness to Others

If you are contagious, do not step foot in the dentist's office unless you have a legitimate oral health emergency. Those who have the flu or any other type of contagious virus should stay at home until they feel better. Otherwise, dentist office staff members and fellow patients might end up infected. Do not assume you are not contagious simply because you have the beginnings of a cold. You might not know you are contagious. Something as simple as sneezing and coughing might indicate a common a virus, the flu or a common cold. Mind your symptoms, consult with your doctor and proceed with care. Keep in mind studies show virus carriers are still contagious to others for upwards of a full week.

How to Proceed if You Keep Your Dental Appointment

If you experience congestion or any other type of malady, let the dentist know ahead of your appointment. This forewarning is essential as there are some types of dental procedures that can't be performed if a patient is struggling to breathe through the nostrils. Some such procedures require the mouth to be occupied during exams or treatments. If you can't breathe through your nose, consult with the dental staff to determine if it is possible to apply the treatment or procedure necessary.

When in Doubt, Communicate With Your Dentist and Play It Safe

Above all, it is important that you communicate with the dentist's office. If you are on the fence as to whether you should hold your appointment, contact the dentist's office, explain your condition and try to get a sense as to whether your illness is the type that commonly causes a cancellation. If you have any question as to whether you can sit still in the dentist's office and treatment chair for the entirety of the appointment, go ahead and cancel. Do not feel bad about canceling due to illness! You can reschedule your appointment for a day and time in the following weeks when you are healthy.

For more information call St. George Dental Care at 435-628-9099.

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