ARKANSAS, USA — Local dentists are fighting a national problem while they say they are concerned about Arkansans' oral health.
They say it comes as many people have deserted their dental health during the pandemic.
"Some were nervous about coming and you know, we were closed for eight weeks,” said Lacey Inman, registered dental hygienist at Cantrell Dental.
Inman said business was unusually slow for a while throughout the pandemic, seeing a decline in patient visits.
"They weren’t coming in for their 6-month checkups and cleanings,” said Inman.
That's still a concern. Considering what would have been an easy fix, more and more of Inman's patients now have a bigger problem on hand.
"They may have needed a root canal then, but now it's an extraction,” said Inman.
Dr. Fulks at Fulks Family Dentistry can say the same.
Visits have become more costly for those who wait, and what he and other dentists nationwide are seeing as a result of the pandemic are an increase of fractured teeth.
"Not only could that be a result of folks not coming in for treatment, but increased stressed from the last 12 months,” said Dr. Fulks.
They urge Arkansans to take control of your oral health because letting it go can impact your overall health.
"It's related to heart disease and there's other correlations to other health issues, too, so it's very important you come every six months for the checkup and cleaning,” said Inman.
For anyone still on the fence about visiting a dentist while we're still in a pandemic, the American Dental Association has provided tools and resources to local dentists.
Your dentist can help educate you on safety protocols and even the COVID-19 vaccine.