COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- COVID-19 has raised many fears and concerns, which may have stopped some people from getting their monthly check-up at the dentist.
It's almost been a year since the pandemic began, and now that things are starting to finally slowly open back up, could dentists see an uptick in patients? Some dentists are preparing for the possible rush of appointments.
Dr. Craig Sommer at Colorado Dentist in Downtown Colorado Springs says they've implemented new safety measures such as plexiglass, plastic on equipment, and an Aersol vacuum. The Aersol vacuum is designed to clean, sanitize, and disinfect the air.
Springs Dentist says most of their patients at the office are elderly adults, and in order to ensure patients' safety, employees wear masks, gowns, face shields and gloves.
"A number of our patients are in their 60s and older and as a result, we have patients that are very fearful at that age and said, 'Nah I am going to wait a little while,'" but Dr. Sommer says delaying those visits can be dangerous.
"We were forced to close down mid-march and we were down until the first of June when we reopened," added Dr. Sommer.
When this happened things began to pick up quickly for them, but the patients' oral hygiene became concerning.
"Cavity wise, we had one patient come in and she said she and her husband took advantage of the one-dollar cokes at McDonald's and now she has a mouthful of cavities, it is awful," express Dr. Sommer.
Besides cavities, they've seen an increase in patients developing gingivitis, dental abscess, and TMJ also known as Temporomandibular joint dysfunction which is related to stress. Dr. Sommer says this disorder has nearly tripled.
However, there are other concerns with people putting off visits to the dentist's office. Dental issues can lead to serious health issues and Dr. Sommer has seen certain issues develop due to dentist inconsistency.
"Gum disease winds up creating all these inflammation issues in the body, with pregnancy you can have early delivery, oftentimes there are diabetic patients that are not taking care of things, that puts them at risk for diabetes issues," expressed Dr. Sommer.
If you've been putting the dentist off, dentists say it's better to schedule an appointment soon before you develop any health issues.