We skipped a lot of dental care during COVID. Now the hygienists are having a wild time

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Patients of dental hygienist Jeannette Diaz sometimes cry. Lately, he has been crying with them.

It’s not just because so many people refrained from doing so for much of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it to scrape off more than a year of tartar and plaque. It’s not just because brushing your teeth can affect the body of hygienists.

It is also due to the fact that patients are unloaded on it, describing the tragedies and heartaches that have bombed them during the pandemic. Many tell him how the coronavirus took his loved ones.

Dental hygienists’ work so closely and cover so many aspects of [a patient’s] life in reviewing theirs that pain, loss and depression appear as a topic of conversation, ”Diaz said.

The onset of the pandemic caused a stagnation of dentistry across the country. Now, with COVID-19 vaccines available and new cases of coronavirus declining significantly in the U.S., patients are demanding to clean their teeth.

In April 2020, the overall volume of patients in private dental consultations across the country fell to 7% from the pre-pandemic baseline, said Marko Vujicic, who oversees the country’s policy research activities. ‘American Dental Association. As of this month, the volume has risen again to 88%, Vujicic said.

Diaz, who has his own consultation and travels to the homes of patients in Los Angeles and Orange counties, has been watching this resurgence. He said he sees about six patients every weekend and has to turn down about four additional people who tell him they want appointments.

Before the pandemic, Diaz said, he would see patients for about an hour each, but now his visits can last twice as long. This is due to the condition of the teeth and why patients usually have the opportunity to talk to her about their problems.

“It can be exhausting and emotionally exhausting when you hear about what they are experiencing mentally and emotionally, which leads them to … be unable to take care of their oral hygiene,” he said.

Diaz said he sympathizes with patients they were afraid to look for when the coronavirus spread to California. But when she looks at a sloppy mouth, she gets sad.

“I wish I could have seen them before,” he said.

Similar concerns weigh on Raiza Parada, a hygienist at the in Long Beach.

“Just knowing that my patient’s health is online … and I couldn’t do anything about it,” as the patient postponed appointments. “It costs me a little bit emotionally,” he said.

A break in oral care can have lasting consequences.

Patients “could see … gum disease, gum bleeding, which can potentially cause tooth loss,” said PJ Attebery, clinic coordinator at the Los Angeles County Comprehensive Health Center.

Germs that are left to multiply in the mouth can also spread and cause problems in other parts of the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth may be related to oral health.

Cleaning these sloppy mouths also carries a heavier physical weight for hygienists.

“The longer the tartar stays on the surface of the teeth, the harder it will be to remove,” Parada said. “We must strive to maintain good ergonomics and posture to prevent injury to our body, while trying to clean our teeth using sharp metal instruments in a very slippery environment, while making the whole experience comfortable for patients. “.

He said he has experienced more pain in his neck, shoulders, upper back and forearms. Cleaning the back teeth is usually the most difficult for her because it is the area that patients neglect the most, she said.

Stop has offset some of the effects by doing strength training, massaging, taking Epsom salt baths and using a foam roller to loosen the muscles in your shoulders and upper back. But it is not magic.

“I’ve never had pain like this in my entire career. I’ve been a licensed hygienist since 2012,” he said.

Wearing layers of personal protective equipment, along with the pressure to do more cleaning during a regular appointment, also burdens Parada. “Wearing my gown makes me warm up and sweat more than I used to do and I feel dehydrated,” she said.

Diaz worked in difficult conditions even before the pandemic: he said the equipment he carries in and out of each patient’s home weighs 43 pounds and does not include an ergonomic chair.

“I just watched [patients] “On his bed, on the couch, on the recliner,” he said, “I have to bend over and turn in weird positions.”

When a patient has a strong buildup of tartar, Diaz must exert additional pressure, which exacerbates the tension in his own body.

Dental care has been the most neglected health care service during the pandemic, according to a survey by the American Dental Association conducted in American homes in May.

But if you have a long history of oral hygiene at home, your hygienist will not necessarily believe that the pandemic is behind your current tartar situation.

“I’m used to … people making excuses for not being able to floss, but it’s interesting how [now] people would link their excuses to the pandemic, “Parada said,” the narrative changed. “

It doesn’t really matter why the teeth are the way they are, Stop said: It just needs to show up.

“It’s very important for patients to know that it’s safe to go back to the dental office to clean your teeth,” he said.


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Citation: We skipped a lot of dental care during COVID. Now hygienists spend a wild time (2021, July 2) recovered on July 3, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-weve-lots-dental-covid-hygienists.html

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