The American Dental Association recommends that every patient get their teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. For healthy adults that are not considered high risk, it is imperative to stick to routine cleanings even during the pandemic.
Dr. Mallory Kist, a dentist at DiBartola Dental in Bridgeville, said that people should still feel comfortable visiting their dentist for routine cleanings and check-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Visiting your dental office is safe,” Dr. Kist said. “It’s also important because you want to make sure that everything is healthy, and there aren’t any undiagnosed diseases progressing.”
At DiBartola Dental, Dr. Kist said the staff is taking all possible precautions to lessen or eliminate the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re disinfecting surfaces, we’re wearing gloves and Personal Protective Equipment like N-95 masks and face shields,” she said. “The office also has a halo air purification system, which circulates the air and kills and removes any airborne viruses and bacteria.”
While patients are unable to wear masks during their visit, Dr. Kist said the office’s health and safety precautions are in place for patient protection.
“We’ve also asked our patients to wait in their cars and not in the waiting room, and we’re taking everyone’s temperature,” she said. “Patients are also asked about possible exposure via our COVID questionnaire to ensure that we’re not putting anyone at risk. There really is a low risk of transmission at the office.”
Tangible items, like magazines and toys, have also been removed from the office. Similar health and safety procedures have been adopted by dentists across the country in an effort to protect their patients and to continue to provide necessary oral care.
While dentist offices were closed to nonemergency appointments in the early stages of the pandemic, rescheduling or keeping your next schedule routine appointment is important.
“I do worry as a dentist about people who are delaying their dental exams due to COVID,” she said. “By waiting, people will not only compromise their oral health, but their overall health. I worry that we’ll see more of that due to the pandemic.”
Dr. Kist noted that advanced dental diseases may require more frequent visits to your dentist, and if dental problems – big or small – are left unattended, they can turn into larger health concerns.
“More and more research has shown that oral health is intimately related to the heart. If you delay your dental visit, you could be putting yourself at a greater risk and you might not even be aware of it. Even a broken tooth can
be troublesome. It may not bother you, but you may have an infection festering. Some dental infections can be life-threatening, and it’s always scary to see that.”
Dr. Kist hopes patients won’t delay addressing their dental needs, whether it’s their bi-annual check-up or their first visit in years.
“We had people canceling at the beginning of the pandemic when we still didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “Dentistry was considered a high risk profession and that made people not want to come in. They held off on treatment, but the dental office is safe. Any patient coming in will have a low risk of being exposed to COVID-19.”
Dr. Kist has been with DiBartola Dental since October. While she admits that starting with a new practice in the middle of a pandemic was difficult, she enjoys working in the same community that she lives in.
“I wanted to be able to practice where I live and raise a family,” she said.
Prior to joining DiBartola Dental, Dr. Kist worked across the greater Pittsburgh area in corporate dentistry. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, OH, and got her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Dr. Kist is passionate about changing lives through dentistry.
“As a dentist, I’m in the unique position to change lives. Someone can come in with debilitating pain and we can address it. Sometimes even in the same day. I’m also able to take someone’s smile and restore it. I can bring back someone’s confidence. I can change the way someone views themselves,” she said.
A native of Erie, Dr. Kist now lives in South Fayette with her husband and young son. When she isn’t practicing dentistry, she enjoys being a mom, traveling and cycling.
DiBartola Dental has been serving the community for over 35 years, and offers a wide range of comprehensive dentistry services, including in-house sedation and dental implants. To learn more about DiBartola Dental, call 412-221-9440 or visit dentistbridgevillepa.com.
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