Scheduling regular cleanings and exams with your pediatric dentist is essential for your child's dental health. However, there are a few times when going to the dentist can actually cause health problems. If your child has a dental appointment at a site like http://www.drheimann.com coming up, it's important to make sure they are feeling well, because there are certain illnesses that make it worth postponing your visit.
If your child is complaining or a sore throat, or seems to be battling a fever, take them to the doctor before taking them to the dentist, just to rule out the presence of streptococcus bacteria. This bacteria is what makes strep throat more serious than a simple sore throat. If your child goes to the dentist with the infection:
- They put the dentist and hygienists at risk. Dentist wear gloves and face masks when working around the mouth, but it only takes one careless touch to the face, or even residue left on the chair to spread the infection. Also, other patients, who don't cover their faces, may also get sick when your child is with you in the waiting area and playing with toys.
- They open themselves up to further infection. One of the reasons why strep throat is so serious is because it can lead to a more serious infection, known as rheumatic fever. During a dental procedure, the bacteria has a greater chance of becoming aggravated and entering the blood stream, increasing the risk of developing this disease. Rheumatic fever attacks the heart and nervous system, leading to valve damage. Many children who get rheumatic fever suffer from inflamed tissue in the heart and develop heart murmurs.
If your child's sore throat is caused by streptococcus bacteria, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. You should contact your pediatric dentist and get advice for when it will be safe to resume regular dental care.
If your child does contract rheumatic fever, it's important to let your dentist know at all future visits. A history with this disease puts patients at risk for developing bacterial endocarditis, especially if they have poor tooth and gum health. Bacterial endocarditis also attacks the heart; in order to prevent infection, patients will be given a round of antibiotics before any procedure, which will remove the risk of bacterial infection.
Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus, and some children (and adults) may be more susceptible to contracting them than others. They usually manifest during periods of illness or stress, because the body's immune system is not working optimally. If you notice that your child has a cold sore, contact your dentist about whether to postpone your appointment. Sometimes, dentists may be willing to work on patients with a cold sore, but certain precautions must be taken. The CDC acknowledges that cold sores are more easily spread in a dental office, and recommends the safety of the staff and patients be the priority, so some dentists may recommend your child stays home until the sore is gone.
- require extra sterilization of equipment. The virus can live for several hours on gloves, charts, or anything that comes in contact with the sore and then the skin or mucous membranes. If another person is exposed to the virus, they may also find themselves getting cold sores in the future.
- should be treated while at the dentist in order to hasten healing. Pediatric dentists may use lasers or topical ointments in order to help the lesion heal more quickly.
Before going to the dentist, it's best to check to make sure your child is feeling healthy. A sore throat or a cold sore may not seem like a big deal, but they can be harmful to your child and to other patients if they are not treated before the appointment.