‘Call your local dentist, get on the books.’ Roanoke dentist sees decline in dental health following pandemic

Anke Neustadt

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – The pandemic has caused a delay and decline in dental health across the country, something also true here in our hometowns.

One Roanoke dentist is saying many of us have taken the stress of the pandemic out on our teeth, and getting into the office sooner rather than later can be helpful for not only your dental health, but also your wallet.

“Waiting until something hurts is the worst thing that you can do,” says Dr. Brett Rhodes of North Roanoke Dental Associates.

It’s a sentiment true of many things when it comes to your health, especially visiting the dentist.

“When people put off things that they need, the only thing that is going to happen is that they are going to get worse,” adds Rhodes. “They are going to get harder to fix.”

It’s a pattern dentists in the Roanoke Valley have noticed as patients return to the office following the pandemic.

“We have seen a lot of patients coming in who have delayed their care, whether for themselves or their family or their children,” he explains.

Dr. Rhodes says the stress of the pandemic has had a direct impact on dental health for many.

“One thing that we have seen a lot during the pandemic, it’s been a stressful time for everybody. Lots of us, including myself, we take it out on our teeth. There has been a lot of grinding. I see a lot of cracked and fractured teeth and cracked and fractured teeth are really hard to fix sometimes. They can be very complicated and they can cause lot of pain. The best way to treat things like that is to actually be preventative on it. The day that it hurts is one day too late for some of those scenarios.”

Dr. Rhodes says his office uses bite guards for patients who grind their teeth in their sleep to help prevent damaged teeth. He also says dental issues don’t resolve themselves.

“Cavities are not going to get better. When you have decay in your tooth, it is only going to get worse. It is not going to get easier to fix.”

Harder, and potentially more expensive. But that shouldn’t keep you out of the chair.

“Most offices in town work with people who don’t have dental insurance. We have preventative maintenance plans, we have membership plans, and lots of us do financing. Call your local dentist, get on the books,” says Dr. Rhodes.

He also encouraged patients to make appointments with their dentists as soon as they can, and if they are booked, ask the office to take note of your availability so they can get you in if there is a cancellation.

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