(KLFY)- Dentists have only been able to see patients for emergencies since Governor John Bel Edwards’ stay-at-home order.
As of Monday, dentists can also see patients for time-sensitive procedures, and that includes routine dental checkups.
“The Department of Health made it clear that they believe that routine cleanings and checkups are considered time-sensitive. Those procedures are treating disease. Even Gingivitis is a disease,” President of the Louisiana Dental Association, Dr. David Carlton, said.
Dr. Carlton says time-sensitive procedures are anything that would treat diseases, and routine checkups do just that.
“A checkup is not just about cleanings. It’s about the diagnostic part: checking for cavities, periodontal disease, checking for oral cancer, and then the cleaning as well, so you don’t develop anything further like gum disease,” he said.
Dr. Carlton says if you have tooth aches, swelling or pain you think you can put off going to the dentist for, you should think again, as it may be sign of an underlying disease.
“Many people go to the dentist and in six months, they have significant amount of tartar built up. They could have decay that has shown up. The oral cancer screening is the most important part of your regular checkup,” Dr. Carlton said.
He wants people to know that although dentists are limiting procedures, you shouldn’t be hesitant about making an appointment with your dentist.
“Even though there’s a stay at home order, you are allowed to leave to go get procedures that you deem as necessary, and we are ready to treat those,” he told News Ten.
Dr. Carlton says cosmetics procedures such as teeth-whitening are not considered time-sensitive and won’t be allowed for some time.