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Stay-at-home orders forcing parents to take on children's oral care

Posted at 9:25 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 13:00:41-04

Many parents can now add dental assistant to their list of duties, as dentists are only seeing emergency cases. But what happens when you need routine care?

Lindsey Chester gives us a rundown of her daily responsibilities.

“I am a stay-at-home mom, educator, wife, cook, laundry lady and running a non-profit from my home," she said.

The Santa Cruz County mom says she also cares for her 8-year-old daughter's teeth.

Her daughter, Olivia, got braces back in February. They require routine wire changes, but COVID-19 and the shutdown has not allowed for routine or wellness appointments.

“All of a sudden, this wire bulges out of the side of her face. She was like mom, ‘Mom, what’s going on?’” recalled Chester.

The incident doesn't fall under the classification of an emergency description. Emergencies include things like tooth injury or trauma, abscesses, swellings, deep cavities or severe pain. Chester's orthodontist virtually walked her through the wire change.

“Do you happen to have pliers? I sterilized wire clippers and pliers,” she said. “Couldn’t succeed, so he told me to snip the wire out of her mouth.”

Luckily, she was successful and is thankful for the virtual care she had gotten from her orthodontist and from her pediatric dentist at Capitola Kids Dentistry Dr. Seth Reder.

Dr. Seth--as he's known in the community--is advising that families go back to the basics.

“Diet is our foundation of prevention,” he said. “Parents helping, brushing and flossing, keeping the teeth clean.”

He also warns everyone to watch what they eat.

“If there’s no bacteria, we’ll have less problems,” he said. “Avoid things like crackers that stick to our kids’ teeth like Cheetos and Goldfish.”

Like most dentists, he's always available for emergency care. He feels strongly about that service, especially during this pandemic.

“We are all here to help our community and keep the patients out of the hospital that have dental needs,” he said. “And we should, as a dental community, serve our community best by providing urgent care.”

As for 8-year-old Olivia, she's spending her time practicing good hygiene. Like most of us, she's probably looking forward to the day when her mom is just mom.