Lufkin dentist attributes increase in dental visits to pandemic delays

Lufkin dentist attribute increase in dental visits to pandemic delays
Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:18 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - One East Texas dentist tells us some of his patients have been suffering jaw pain and other dental problems over the past few months.

He says there has been an increase in dental visits recently, which could be linked to the pandemic, since some people waited longer than normal to come in for treatment.

“The tooth never really bothered me. I just noticed it broke while I brushed my teeth. Later that day, I called in,” said patient David McCleskey.

“The tooth never really bothered me. I just noticed it broke while I brushed my teeth. Later that day, I called in,” said McCleskey.

McCleasey says he cracked his tooth over the holidays.

“The process was actually like it was pre-COVID. I called and they got me in as soon as I could.”

At Family Dentistry and Orthodontics, Dr. David Palmer says it has been an increase in dentist visits, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It caused kind of a very big backlog, because people obviously were very nervous to see the dentist and people are naturally nervous to see the dentist. But the COVID pandemic, is what made it a little worse,” said Palmer. “But then what happens is that the backlog occurs and then, it is hard to catch back up.”

There is also a certain portion of people who are having these problems because they are stressed.

Palmer says now he is seeing more patients suffering from mouth problems that could have been caught earlier.

“We had a little more TMJ problems which is jaw problems and broken teeth. So, we are seeing a much bigger number of just broken teeth or things that could have been caught earlier,” said Palmer.

Palmers says patients should continue to visit twice a year.

“What happens is it gets out of control. We have a lot more broken teeth, a lot more problems and a lot more pain than there should be. When people are in pain sometimes it is because they just simply did not come see us,” said Palmer.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, their dental office upgraded from four air filtration filters to eleven.

“As dentist in general, we have been very adept to all types of normal blood borne pathogens. Now when it comes to this type of respiratory problem, we have just simply upped our game. There is a lot more PPE involved,” said Palmer.

Palmer encourages people to visit the dentist sooner, because tooth-related issues can be easily fixed before bigger problems progress.

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