Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA

This month has been very tumultuous due to COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has affected each of us—whether that means canceled sporting events, school closures, your favorite restaurant closing its doors, or your job has been affected. It’s a stressful time for everyone. Unfortunately, other problems that have nothing to do with coronavirus still have to be handled, such as toothaches. Today on the blog, Laser Dentistry of Erie wants to share some information on what to do if you think you need a root canal during COVID-19.


Dentists are prioritizing their care during COVID-19

After the World Health Organization officially declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, the American Dental Association acted a few days later, recommending that all dentists temporarily suspend their elective procedures for at least three weeks. This refers to procedures such as cleanings and cosmetic treatments, among others deemed to be non-essential.
“Concentrating on emergency dental care will allow us to care for our emergency patients and alleviate the burden that dental emergencies would place on hospital emergency departments,” the ADA writes.
This means dentists have to make a designation of what qualifies as emergency service and what doesn’t. To help, the ADA issued guidelines on essential and non-essential procedures.


Root canals qualify as essential care


A root canal meets several of the criteria of an essential dental service, even during a crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic: 

  • It can be used to treat an active infection, which is one of the main reasons that a root canal might be recommended.
  • It relieves significant pain, which is a common symptom of the infection that requires a root canal, or an injury that has affected the soft interior of a tooth or the dental nerve.
  • It alleviates swelling or cellulitis in a tooth, which are both warning signs of an abscess. This refers to any situation where an infection forms at the tip of the tooth root, at which time the infection could filter into the bloodstream, leading to a host of different complications, including sepsis.


What if I’m not sure if I need a root canal?

Usually, a root canal is needed when a tooth is infected, or its nerve and blood supply are exposed, which happens if a tooth is severely decayed or broken. In some cases, these instances lead to significant pain, although other times may not. You might need a root canal if you experience an intense toothache, or notice a pustule on your gums area near the painful tooth. The best way to know if your toothache warrants a root canal is to meet with Dr. Starr. Severe toothaches relating to an abscess often send people to the emergency room after hours. However, Dr. Starr urges you not to go to the emergency room for dental pain at this time due to the current coronavirus condition. Urgent care doctors cannot treat dental pain. Instead, contact Laser Dentistry of Erie to arrange for dental care during the coronavirus pandemic.


Root Canals During COVID-19 in Erie

We understand that even in these trying times, people still need dental care for root canals and other high-priority procedures. That’s why we’re taking extra measures to keep our staff and patients safe, such as removing magazines from our waiting areas and asking patients to remain in their vehicles until it’s time for their appointment. If you think you need a root canal, or you received a diagnosis from a root canal from a practitioner who has chosen not to see patients during the pandemic, call Laser Dentistry of Erie at (814) 825-2615. Dr. Starr and his team of professionals are here to help if you’re in the areas of Erie, Harborcreek, and Millcreek, PA.