Dentists working to keep up with demand as patients return

ATLANTA — Life appears to be easing back to normal and with that is a crush on doctor’s appointments.

Local dentists say they are being slammed with patients and they’re having to work hard to catch patients up.

“They’ve waited too long in some cases,” Dr. Kenneth Gilbert of Clairmont Dental Care in Decatur said.

Gilbert said his office is seeing much more new traffic of people who haven’t seen a dentist in years.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, many appointments were put on hold and now phones at dental offices are ringing off the hook.

Gilbert said he gets people every day making emergency appointments and also working to catch up from the neglect of not seeing a dentist in more than a year.

The pandemic coupled with neglect is presenting bigger problems for many area dentists. Gilbert said it’s not uncommon to encounter a patient with multiple teeth with new decay.

While decay, or cavities, have always been a problem, Gilbert is seeing bites take the top trouble spot now.

“The emphasis or the stress on one particular tooth or another can create a longer-term problem,” Gilbert said.

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It’s safe to say, most people have felt some stress and it can reflect in their teeth with grinding and clenching, especially at night.

“Issues where the bite isn’t working well correctly, that can break down things more than decay does,” Gilbert said.

The dentist is just happy that people are returning for dental care since poor oral health can be tied to chronic diseases if left untreated.

“There was a global situation that caused you to not be here. We’re glad you’re back. Let’s get started,” Gilbert said.

He also recommends avoiding sugary, caffeinated drinks and prescribes us all the preventative care of flossing and brushing twice daily for two minutes.

Time spent doing this can help minimize the time you spend in the dentist’s chair.